Police-reported crime statistics in Canada, 2008: Highlights

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  • Police-reported crime in Canada continued to fall in 2008. Both the volume of crime and its overall severity dropped by 5%.

  • The police-reported crime rate (PRCR)—which measures the volume of reported crime—fell mainly as a result of a 6% decrease in the rate of thefts under $5,000, the highest-volume offence. In total, there were about 77,000 fewer crimes reported in 2008 than 2007.

  • The police-reported Crime Severity Index (PRCSI) —which tracks changes in the severity of reported crime—was down for the fifth consecutive year in 2008. A 10% drop in the rate of break and enters drove the PRCSI to 90.0, from 95.2.

  • Both the volume and severity of police-reported violent crime also dropped in 2008. A 2% drop in common assaults, the highest volume violent offence, led to a 2% reduction in the violent crime rate. The Violent Crime Severity Index was down 3%, to 94.6, due to a 7% drop in robberies and a 10% decline in attempted murders.

  • The national homicide rate increased slightly in 2008 (+2%), the third increase in the past five years. Police reported 611 homicide victims, 17 more than in 2007. Increases in British Columbia and Alberta contributed to the overall rise.

  • Crime severity dropped across the country in 2008, with the exception of increases in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick as well as two of the three territories. However, Prince Edward Island continues to have the lowest overall Crime Severity Index, followed closely by Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick.

  • The largest drops in crime severity were reported in Manitoba and Nova Scotia. The western provinces continued to report the highest Index values among the provinces, with Saskatchewan reporting the highest, followed by Manitoba, British Columbia and Alberta.

  • The majority of Canada's census metropolitan areas (CMAs) reported drops in crime severity, including all of the ten largest CMAs. Winnipeg recorded the largest decline (-19%) in crime severity, while Trois-Rivières reported the largest increase (+14%).

  • The highest crime severity values were reported in Regina, Abbotsford-Mission and Saskatoon, while the lowest were in Guelph, Saguenay, Barrie, Québec and Toronto.

  • There were about 167,000 youth accused of a Criminal Code offence in 2008, down almost 11,000 from 2007. As a result, the youth crime rate decreased 5%, the fourth decline in the past five years. The youth violent crime rate also dropped, down 3%.

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