Police service clearance rates, 2010 (correction)

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Police are solving more crimes than in the past. The weighted clearance rate rose for the seventh consecutive year to 39.4% in 2010, up from 33.5% in 2003. This measure represents the proportion of reported crimes solved by police, factoring in the seriousness of individual offences.

In 2010, three-quarters of homicides were solved by police. Clearance rates for homicide have gradually declined from around 95% in the early 1960s when data were first collected.

In general, violent crimes are solved much more frequently than property crimes. In 2010, almost three-quarters of violent crimes were solved by police compared with about one-quarter of property crimes.

Police solved just over 8 in 10 aggravated assault and aggravated sexual assault incidents in 2010, among the highest clearance rates for violent offences. About 4 in 10 robberies were solved by police, the lowest of any violent offence.

Clearance rates for property crimes were somewhat lower. For example, police cleared about 1 in 6 break-ins and 1 in 7 motor vehicle thefts in 2010.

Note to readers

The clearance rate represents the proportion of reported criminal incidents that are solved by the police. For an incident to be considered solved or cleared, an accused person must be identified and there must be sufficient evidence for the police to lay or recommend a charge. Many factors can affect the decision as to whether the evidence is considered to be sufficient to proceed with a charge, and these factors may vary by police service.

The weighted clearance rate is calculated using the same principle used in the Crime Severity Index, where more serious offences are assigned a higher weight than less serious offences. In the calculation of the weighted clearance rate, the clearing of more serious offences such as homicide and robbery count for more than the clearing of less serious offences such as minor thefts and mischief.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey numbers survey number3302, survey number3315 and survey number4504.

The Juristat article "Police-reported clearance rates in Canada, 2010" (Catalogue number85-002-X, free) is now available. From the Key resource module of our website under Publications, choose All subjects, then Crime and justice, and Juristat.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Statistics Canada's National Contact Centre (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 613-951-8116; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or the Media Hotline (613-951-4636; statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@canada.ca).