Unfounded criminal incidents: Statistics Canada's path to new data collection

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Release date: July 12, 2018
Unfounded criminal incidents: Statistics Canada's path to new data collection
Description: Unfounded criminal incidents: the path to new data collection

Founded: An incident is 'founded' if, after police investigation, it has been determined that the reported offence did occur or was attempted (even if the charged/suspect chargeable is unknown), or there is no credible evidence to confirm that the reported incident did not take place. This includes third-party reports that fit these criteria.

Unfounded: An incident is "unfounded" if it has been determined through police investigation that the offence reported did not occur, nor was it attempted.

Unfounded data: Key points in time

1962: The Uniform Crime Reporting Survey, Canada's national database for crimes reported by police, is launched and includes unfounded incidents.

2006: Due to poor data quality, Statistics Canada stops publishing data on unfounded incidents.

2017: Based on renewed interest in these data, Statistics Canada and the policing community announce the commitment to review and standardize collection and to release data on unfounded incidents in July 2018.

Consulted across Canada

  • Consulted with 61 expert: Academics, Justice partners, Police services, Experts
  • Reviewed international standards
  • Results: Consensus on new survey definitions

Training police services on new survey definitions

  • Over 400 personnel from almost 130 police services
  • 8 workshops over 4 months, from January to April 2018
  • Online training developed and available to all police personnel for continuous learning

Producing better data to examine social issues

  • Release of unfounded incidents in official crime statistics
  • Clear definition of founded and unfounded incidents will provide reliable data across the country
  • Allow police services to provide details why an incident is cleared (solved) or not cleared (unsolved)
  • Allow police to report that a charge was recommended but later declined by the Crown

Source: Juristat article Revising the classification of founded and unfounded criminal incidents in the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey

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