StatsCan: Violent crime at highest level since 2007

Statistics Canada found a higher number of reported robberies (15%), extortions (39%), homicides (8%), and sexual assaults (3%) committed in 2022 than the previous year.

StatsCan: Violent crime at highest level since 2007
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According to new data released by Statistics Canada, violent crime in Canada has reached its highest level in 15 years.

A July 27 report found a 4% uptick in police-reported crime in Canada last year. The Violent Crime Severity Index (CSI) also increased by 5% after a 6% increase in 2021. 

Of the reported crimes, StatsCan found a higher number of reported robberies (15%), extortions (39%), homicides (8%), and sexual assaults (3%) committed over the same period.

In contrast, rates of other non-violent violations fell year-over-year, including drug offences (-17%), identity fraud (-11%), identity theft (-8%), impaired driving (-3%) and administration of justice violations (-2%).

On Thursday, the Conservatives attributed Parliament’s ‘soft-on-crime’ policies to the concerning crime trends.

“Justin Trudeau has made Canadian streets unsafe,” said Public Safety Critic Raquel Dancho.

“After eight years of Justin Trudeau, crime and chaos are common on our streets. We are experiencing the worst crime wave we have seen in recent memory,” read a statement from leaders in the Conservative Party.

Since 2015, violent crime has risen by 39%. Gang murders have doubled, and violent gun crime has increased for the eighth year.

The national murder rate is markedly up for a fourth consecutive year. Police said 78 more people died in 2022 than in 2021, with 874 total murders.

“The homicide rate increased 8% from 2.08 homicides per 100,000 population in 2021 to 2.25 homicides per 100,000 population in 2022. This was the highest rate since 1992. The national increase was largely the result of more homicides in British Columbia (+30 homicides), Manitoba (+26 homicides) and Quebec (+20 homicides),” reads the federal report.

On a provincial basis, Manitoba had the highest homicide rate at 6.24 murders per 100,000 population, followed by Saskatchewan at 5.94 per 100,000. In the territories, Northwest Territories had 6.58 homicides per 100,000 people, and Yukon had 4.57 per 100,000.

Among Indigenous Canadians, the homicide rate exploded to a whopping 10.98 murders per 100,000 — nearly seven times greater than non-Indigenous populations at 1.69 murders per 100,000.

The Conservatives claim the national murder rate is at its highest level in three decades, up 38% in Montreal and 55% in Vancouver since 2015 — when Trudeau first became prime minister.

The Official Opposition is urging Parliament to end their “catch-and-release policies” that have caused the increase in violent crime and subsequently usher in new bail reform laws.

According to Dancho, Bill C-75 and C-5 have enabled “dangerous repeat violent offenders out onto the streets and back into our communities instead of keeping them behind bars where they belong.”

“This cannot continue. We need change so that dangerous repeat violent offenders get jail, not bail, and the most serious criminals receive sentences that keep them in prison and the public safe,” read the statement.

Also, on Thursday, Trudeau updated the press on his government’s efforts to enact meaningful bail reform.

“We’ve been working on strengthening the ways of supporting Canadians because it is not right that in far too many of our cities, we’re seeing an uptick in violent crime,” he said, adding that bail reform is a single factor, alongside “mental health.”

“It’s not just about stepping up on the security side — although that is important, and we’re doing that — it’s also about creating greater opportunities for youth to be part of community organizations and have the kind of mentorship and guidance that keeps them out of a life of gangs and crime,” continued the prime minister.

“It’s more work on harm reduction in terms of the opioids epidemic that’s devastating far too many communities across the country.”

StatsCan noted that the upward trend in crime may have started before the COVID pandemic.

“The first year of the pandemic was marked by a decline in the overall volume and severity of police-reported crime, notably while lockdown restrictions were first implemented, driven by less non-violent crime. Before this drop, the CSI had been rising for five consecutive years beginning in 2015 (+19% over five years),” reads the federal report.

Across Canada, only New Brunswick, Yukon, and Nunavut recorded less crime from 2021 to 2022. StatsCan said Manitoba recorded the most significant CSI increase (14%) nationwide.

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