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In 2004, Statistics Canada conducted the victimization cycle of the General Social Survey for the fourth time. Previous cycles were conducted in 1988, 1993 and 1999. The objectives of the survey are to provide estimates of the extent to which people experience incidences of eight offence types, examining risk factors associated with victimization, reporting rates to police, and measures fear of crime and public perceptions of crime and the criminal justice system.
Households in the 10 provinces were selected using Random Digit Dialing (RDD). Once a household was chosen, an individual 15 years or older was selected randomly to respond to the survey. Households without telephones, households with only cellular phone service, and individuals living in institutions were excluded. These groups combined represented 4% of the target population. This figure is not large enough to significantly change the estimates.
The sample size in 2004 was about 24,000 households, similar to the sample size in 1999 (26,000) and considerably higher than the sample in 1993 and 1988 (10,000 each).
Data collection took place from January to December 2004 inclusively. The sample was evenly distributed over the 12 months to represent seasonal variation in the information. A standard questionnaire was conducted by phone using computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI). A typical interview lasted 30 minutes.
Of the 31,895 households that were selected for the GSS Cycle 18 sample, 23,766 usable responses were obtained. This represents a response rate of 75%. Types of non-responses included respondents who refused to participate, could not be reached, or could not speak English or French.
Respondents in the sample were weighted so that their responses represent the non-institutionalized Canadian population aged 15 years or over. Each person who responded to the 2004 GSS represented roughly 1,000 people in the Canadian population aged 15 years and over.
As with any household survey, there are some data limitations. The results are based on a sample and are therefore subject to sampling error. Somewhat different results might have been obtained if the entire population had been surveyed. The difference between the estimate obtained from the sample and the one resulting from a complete count is called the sampling error of the estimate. This Profile uses the coefficient of variation (CV) as a measure of the sampling error. Any estimate that has a high CV (over 33.3%) has not been published because the estimate is too unreliable. In these cases, the symbol ‘F’ is used in the figures and data tables. An estimate that has a CV between 16.6 and 33.3 should be used with caution and the symbol ‘E’ is used.
When comparing estimates for significant differences, the hypothesis that the difference between two estimates is zero is tested. A 95% confidence interval is constructed around this difference and if this interval contains zero, then it is concluded that the difference is not significant. If, however, this confidence interval does not contain zero, it is concluded that there is a significant difference between the two estimates.
Using the 2004 GSS sample design and sample size, an estimate of a given proportion of the total population, expressed as a percentage is expected to be within 0.8 percentage points of the true proportion 19 times out of 20.
The Homicide Survey began collecting police-reported data on homicide incidents, victims and accused persons in Canada in 1961. Whenever a homicide becomes known to police, the investigating police department completes a survey questionnaire, which is then sent to the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. This questionnaire remained virtually unmodified from 1961 to 1990. In 1991 and later in 1997, in an effort to respond to changing information needs, the survey was revised and expanded.
The total count of homicides recorded each year equals the total number of homicides known by police departments and reported to the Homicide Survey during that year. Therefore, given that some homicides only become known to police long after they occur, some incidents that actually occurred in previous years are counted in the year they are reported by police to the Homicide Survey.