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Thursday, July 21, 2005

Crime statistics

2004

Canada's crime rate, based on data reported by police services, fell a marginal 1% last year. While the total violent crime rate declined, the national homicide rate increased 12%.

Except for an increase in 2003, the crime rate has generally been falling since 1991 when it peaked. Police reported about 2.6 million offences in 2004, resulting in a crime rate that was 12% lower than a decade ago.

Last year's decline was driven largely by a 5% decrease in Ontario, whose crime rate was the lowest in the country for the second year in a row. Most of this decline was due to large decreases in reported crime in the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Toronto, Hamilton, Ottawa and St. Catharines–Niagara.

Prince Edward Island was the only other province to report a large decline in crime. Saskatchewan's crime rate, which experienced the largest increase of any province over the past decade, fell slightly in 2004. New Brunswick reported the largest increase, up 3%.

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Violent crime down but homicide rate up

In total, about 300,000 violent crimes were reported to police in 2004, the majority of which were common assault. The violent crime rate fell 2%, continuing a general decline since 1992. The violent crime rate was 10% lower than a decade earlier, but 35% higher than 20 years ago.

Canada's homicide rate rose 12% in 2004 after hitting a 36-year low the year before. Police reported 622 victims of homicide, 73 more than last year. Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec accounted for most of this increase. The rate of 1.9 homicides for every 100,000 population was 5% lower than it was 10 years earlier.


Note to readers

This report is based on an annual Juristat released today by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS).

Data on incidents that come to the attention of the police are captured and forwarded to the CCJS via the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) survey according to a nationally-approved set of common scoring rules, categories and definitions.

UCR data are available back to 1962 for both the nation and provinces and territories, and from 1991 at the census metropolitan area level.


The highest homicide rates were in the territories and western Canada. Provincially, Manitoba reported the highest rate (4.3) followed by Saskatchewan (3.9). The lowest rates were reported in Atlantic Canada.

Among the nine largest census metropolitan areas (CMAs), Winnipeg had the highest homicide rate, followed by Edmonton and Vancouver. Quebec and Ottawa reported the lowest rates.

Among the 18 smaller CMAs, Regina, Abbotsford and Saskatoon recorded the highest rates. Thunder Bay, Kingston, Sherbrooke and Greater Sudbury/Grand Sudbury all reported zero homicides in 2004.

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Robberies with a firearm continue to decline

The rate of robbery incidents fell 4% in 2004. Police reported more than 27,000 robberies, half of which were committed without a weapon of any kind. The rate of robberies committed with a firearm continued to decline, down 3% in 2004, accounting for one in seven robberies. The remaining 35% of robberies were committed with other weapons such as knives.

Despite a national decline in robbery incidents, the Atlantic provinces experienced significant increases in 2004, ranging from 19% in Nova Scotia to almost 100% in Newfoundland and Labrador. However, robbery rates in the Atlantic provinces continue to be below the national rate.

About 41% of all robberies occurred in commercial establishments, including 16% in convenience stores or gas stations and 5% in banks. The next most common locations were streets/sidewalks (30%), private residences (8%) parking lots (6%) and open areas (5%).

Property crime resumes downward trend

Police reported nearly 1.3 million property crimes last year. The property crime rate dropped 3%, as most categories showed a decline. Property crime has generally been decreasing since 1991 with the exception of a notable increase in 2003.

The rate of break-ins fell 4% to just under 275,000 and was 36% lower than a decade ago. More than one-half (56%) of break-ins were committed in residences, about one-third (31%) in businesses and the remaining 13% occurred in other areas such as garden sheds and schools.

Prince Edward Island and Ontario reported the lowest provincial break-in rates, while the highest rates were in the West, particularly in Saskatchewan. Newfoundland and Labrador reported the largest increase in break-in rates, up 16%.

Police reported nearly 170,000 stolen motor vehicles last year. The rate of vehicle theft fell 4%, and it has declined in all but two years since peaking in 1996.

Cars accounted for just over half of all vehicle thefts while trucks, including vans and sport utility vehicles, comprised a further 34%. The rate of stolen cars dropped 4%, while truck thefts fell 2%.

Ontario (-12%) and British Columbia (-6%) reported the largest declines in vehicle thefts, while Newfoundland and Labrador (+52%), Nova Scotia (+24%) and Manitoba (+23%) recorded the largest increases. Manitoba continued to have the highest rate among the provinces, primarily due to the high rate of thefts in Winnipeg.

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After large back-to-back increases in 2002 and 2003, the rate of growth in police-reported counterfeiting incidents slowed to 14%. In 2004, counterfeiting accounted for 6% of all criminal incidents, four times the proportion of only five years earlier. According to the Bank of Canada, $10 and $20 bills accounted for 87% of all counterfeit notes last year.

Drug incidents resume upward trend

The rate of drug incidents increased 11% last year, following a 7% decline in 2003. Of the almost 100,000 drug incidents known to police in 2004, half were for possessing cannabis. The rate of cannabis possession incidents increased 15%.

Cannabis cultivation, otherwise known as marijuana grow operations, has more than doubled over the past decade, from 3,400 incidents in 1994 to more than 8,000 incidents last year. The rate of cocaine-related incidents increased by 17% in 2004, numbering nearly 17,000.

Youth crime down

About 78,000 youth aged 12 to 17 were charged with a Criminal Code offence last year, while a further 101,000 were cleared by means other than laying a formal charge.

Combined, this represents a 4% decline in the overall youth crime rate — a 6% drop in youths charged and a 2% drop in youths cleared by other means. The youth crime rate had generally been increasing between 1999 and 2003.

The rate of violent crime among youth fell by 2%. Over the past decade, this rate has remained fairly stable, except for a large increase in 2000. Most categories of youth violent crime declined, including a 30% decrease in the youth homicide rate and a 2% drop in robbery.

The youth property crime rate fell 8%. The majority of property offences declined, including an 11% drop in the motor vehicle theft rate and an 8% decline in the rate of break-ins.

Available on CANSIM: tables 252-0013 and 252-0014.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3302.

The publication Juristat: Crime Statistics in Canada, 2004, Vol. 25, no. 5 (85-002-XIE, $9/$75; 85-002-XPE, $11/$100) is now available.

For further information or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Information and Client Services (1-800-387-2231; 613-951-9023), Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics.

Crime rates for selected offences
  2004 % change in rate
  Number Rate1 2003 to 2004 1994 to 2004
Homicide 622 2 12.3 -5.3
Attempted murder 717 2 0.5 -29.4
Assaults (levels 1, 2, 3) 233,774 732 -2.2 -4.5
Other assaults 12,873 40 1.8 -18.1
Sexual assaults (levels 1, 2, 3) 23,534 74 -0.8 -32.6
Other sexual offences 2,625 8 1.4 -37.6
Abduction 635 2 12.6 -48.9
Robbery 27,477 86 -4.2 -14.0
Violent crime: Total 302,257  946 -2.0 -9.7
Break and enter 274,717 860 -4.4 -35.7
Motor vehicle theft 169,544 531 -3.5 -3.5
Theft over $5,000 17,294 54 -11.7 -40.8
Theft $5,000 and under 680,885 2,131 -3.7 -23.4
Possession of stolen goods 35,400 111 5.8 6.7
Fraud 97,091 304 3.5 -14.6
Property crime: Total 1,274,931  3,991  -3.2 -24.1
Mischief 353,661 1,107 -2.0 -19.1
Counterfeiting currency 159,889 500 13.8 333.5
Bail violations 104,334 327 2.3 43.6
Disturbing the peace 117,022 366 12.7 107.4
Offensive weapons 18,002 56 1.2 -13.5
Prostitution 6,493 20 13.1 5.7
Arson 13,148 41 -6.1 -11.7
Other 222,123 695 -4.4 -13.2
Other Criminal Code: Total 994,672  3,114 1.8  10.4
Criminal Code: Total: Excluding traffic (crime rate) 2,571,860 8,051 -1.2  -11.8
Cannabis: Total 67,832 212  10.0  52.0 
Possession 48,052 150 15.3 53.8
Trafficking 10,470 33 -1.4 16.9
Cultivation 8,328 26 -4.0 120.1
Importation 982 3 45.0 55.8
Cocaine 16,837 53 17.3 23.9
Heroin 792 2 19.5 -55.3
Other drugs 11,674 37 6.9 85.6
Drugs: Total 97,135 304 10.9 46.6
1.Rate is based on criminal incidents per 100,000 population.

Crime rates by province and territory
  Violent crime Property crime Total Criminal Code offences1
  2004 2003 to 2004 2004 2003 to 2004 2004 2003 to 2004
  rate* % change in rate rate* % change in rate rate* % change in rate
Canada 946 -2.0 3,991 -3.2 8,051 -1.2
Newfoundland and Labrador 917 -2.5 2,738 4.6 6,320 1.1
Prince Edward Island 799 -12.0 3,505 -3.3 8,220 -5.5
Nova Scotia 1,190 -1.0 3,894 6.5 8,764 1.7
New Brunswick 937 -5.1 3,003 -1.2 7,313 2.9
Quebec 726 0.0 3,202 -3.1 6,493 0.1
Ontario 755 -3.2 3,013 -5.9 5,702 -5.1
Manitoba2 1,602 -1.7 5,699 1.9 12,753 1.5
Saskatchewan 2,006 -2.6 6,238 -5.7 15,159 -1.9
Alberta 1,087 -1.3 5,064 -1.3 10,390 0.7
British Columbia 1,195 -1.5 6,763 -2.9 12,522 0.2
Yukon 3,236 -16.5 6,341 -16.3 23,125 -12.8
Northwest Territories 6,865 1.7 7,414 2.5 42,126 11.7
Nunavut 7,884 -1.9 6,959 -4.4 36,685 4.4
*Rates are based on criminal incidents per 100,000 population.
1.Total Criminal Code offences also include other Criminal Code offences (excluding traffic) not shown in this table.
2.Crime data from April to December 2004 for Winnipeg are estimates (except for homicide and motor vehicle theft) due to the implementation of a new records management system.

Crime rates for selected offences by census metropolitan area
  Homicide Robbery Break-ins Motor vehicle theft Total Criminal Code Offences
  2004 rate* 2004 rate* 2004 rate* 2004 rate* 2004 rate* % change in rate 2003 to 2004*
CMAs with population of 500,000 and over            
Winnipeg1 4.9 229 1,124 1,932 12,167 1.9
Vancouver 2.6 148 1,325 1,104 11,814 0.2
Edmonton 3.4 141 1,129 1,018 11,332 3.0
Montréal 1.7 150 894 663 8,173 2.7
Calgary 1.9 91 815 457 7,101 -3.2
Hamilton 1.3 88 680 540 5,764 -13.0
Ottawa2 1.1 84 578 316 5,663 -10.0
Quebec 0.8 59 783 277 4,997 -0.9
Toronto 1.8 103 449 325 4,699 -8.6
CMAs with population between 100,000 and 500,000            
Regina 5.0 211 2,112 1,351 15,430 2.4
Saskatoon 3.3 209 1,797 590 13,767 -9.1
Abbotsford 4.4 97 1,390 1,529 13,252 -1.2
Victoria 1.5 76 935 336 10,309 -2.2
Halifax 2.4 161 957 540 9,924 5.0
Thunder Bay 0.0 85 865 323 9,226 8.2
Windsor 1.2 70 922 455 7,676 4.0
London 1.1 70 732 611 7,335 -3.0
Saint John 0.7 63 679 135 7,056 -8.3
Kingston 0.0 49 647 233 7,010 2.6
St. John's 0.6 50 1,149 325 6,787 4.2
St. Catharines–Niagara 1.6 63 737 354 6,222 -9.0
Greater Sudbury/Grand Sudbury 0.0 41 851 489 6,188 -4.7
Sherbrooke 0.0 49 855 526 6,094 -9.0
Gatineau3 0.4 59 928 304 5,909 -4.9
Kitchener 1.3 80 738 459 5,887 -0.2
Trois–Rivières 0.7 45 692 367 4,787 -9.9
Saguenay 1.3 18 542 337 4,079 -2.4
*Rates are calculated per 100,000 population.
1.Crime data from April to December 2004 for Winnipeg are estimates (except for homicide and motor vehicle theft) due to the implementation of a new records management system.
2.Ottawa refers to the Ontario part of the Ottawa–Gatineau CMA.
3.Gatineau refers to the Quebec part of the Ottawa–Gatineau CMA.


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Date Modified: 2005-07-21 Important Notices