The country’s crime rate rose in 2018 for the fourth consecutive year in a row, however, despite this, Canada is still safer than it was a decade ago, according to StatCan.
In 2018, two million incidents were reported by police, which works out to a rate of 5,488 incidents per 100,000 people, according to Statistics Canada. This is nearly 69,800 more incidents than in 2017, and 17% lower than ten years ago in 2008.
The rise was largely due to an increase in fraud, sexual assaults, shoplifting, and thefts over $5,000. These increases were offset by decreases to other offences, including breaking and entering, and robbery.
According to StatCan, these findings only include incidents that come to the attention of police, either through reporting by the public or through proactive policing.
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Homicide rate declined
In 2018, Prince Edward Island, Ontario, Manitoba, Nunavut, Northwest Territories, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador all saw an increase in crime rate, while Yukon, Saskatchewan, Quebec, and Nova Scotia saw a decrease. However, both British Columbia and Alberta remained stable last year.
Last year, homicide rates in the country declined from 2017, with 651 homicides reported by police in 2018, which is 15 fewer than the previous year.
Fewer homicides were reported in Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec, and Nova Scotia, however, in contrast, Ontario saw 69 more homicides in 2018 than the year prior, partially due to three incidents that occurred in Toronto.
The report also revealed that the rate of homicide for Indigenous peoples last year was five times higher than the rate for non-Indigenous people.
Sexual assault rate increased
Last year saw more than 28,700 police-reported sexual assaults in the country, marking the fourth consecutive annual increase in the rate of sexual assault.
The vast majority (98%) of reported cases were classified as level one, meaning they didn’t involve a weapon or evidence of bodily harm.
“The number of sexual assaults reported by police is likely an underestimation of the true extent of sexual assault in Canada, as these types of offences often go unreported to police,” said StatCan.
Hate crimes decreased
After reaching an all-time high in 2017, the number of police-reported hate crimes in the country dropped 13% in 2018, from 2,073 incidents to 1,798.
However, the number of hate crimes remains higher than any other year since 2009, with the exception of 2017, the agency notes.
“The year-over-year decrease was almost entirely a result of declines in Ontario. Nationally, the number of hate crimes targeting the Muslim population fell 50% after spiking in 2017 because of large increases in Ontario and Quebec,” said StatCan.
“Police data on hate-motivated crimes include only those incidents that come to the attention of police services. These data also depend on police services’ level of expertise in identifying crimes motivated by hate,” cautioned the agency.