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Study: Neighbourhood characteristics and the distribution of youth crime on the Island of Montréal

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The Daily

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The study, "Neighbourhood characteristics and the distribution of crime on the Island of Montréal: Additional Analysis on Youth Crime," available today, analyzes the geographic distribution of police-reported crime among young people aged 12 to 17 on the Island of Montréal and the neighbourhood factors that affect this distribution.

It is the second phase of a project that examined police-reported crime data at a neighbourhood level in Montréal using a combination of statistical analyses and crime mapping based on Geographic Information System (GIS) technology.

Results of the first phase showed that overall, crimes reported to the police were not evenly distributed on the island, but tended to be concentrated in a limited number of hot spots.

This second phase found, however, that police-reported youth crime on the island was distributed differently from adult crime. Youth crime was distributed over many small hot spots across the entire island.

A number of these hot spots were concentrated in areas where secondary schools, youth centres and shopping centres were located.

The study found that 27% of violent crimes involving young people occurred on school grounds. Similarly, about one-fifth of drug offences occurred on school property.

Since shoplifting was the most common police-reported property offence among young people, property crime densities tended to be highest in areas with large shopping centres.

The study also examined whether differences in neighbourhood youth crime rates were related to factors specific to those neighbourhoods. It showed that the characteristics of a neighbourhood explained only a small proportion of the variation in police-reported youth crime.

When all factors were taken into account, the rate of youth violent crime was higher in neighbourhoods where there were greater numbers of secondary school students and a higher percentage of land zoned for commercial use.

Violent crime rates were also higher in neighbourhoods with higher proportions of low-income earners, dwellings requiring major repairs, visible minority residents, and residents without a high school diploma.

The rate of youth property crime was higher in neighbourhoods where there was high residential mobility and where there were lower proportions of people with a university degree.

Neighbourhoods with greater numbers of secondary school students and a higher percentage of commercial land also had higher property crime rates.

Police-reported data show that Montréal in 2006 had a lower youth crime rate than both the national average and the provincial average for Quebec.

In fact, the census metropolitan area of Montréal, which includes the island and its suburbs, had a lower youth crime rate than any other metropolitan area in Canada except Quebec City.

Between 1996 and 2006, there was a general downward trend in youth crime on the Island of Montréal attributable to a sharp decline in property crime. Violent crime and drug-related incidents rose slightly.

The study, funded by the National Crime Prevention Centre at Public Safety Canada, used demographic and socio-economic information from the census, zoning data from the Communauté urbaine de Montréal and police-reported crime data.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3302.

The study "Neighbourhood characteristics and the distribution of crime on the Island of Montréal: Additional analysis on youth crime," part of the Crime and Justice Research Paper Series (85-561-MWE2008011, free), is now available on our website. From the Publications module, choose Free Internet publications, then Crime and Justice.

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