Police-reported crime statistics in Canada, 2019
Date: October 29, 2020
Branch / Agency: Portfolio Affairs and Communications
On October 29, the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada, published a Juristat report entitled, “Police-reported crime statistics in Canada, 2019”.
- While Canada is generally a safe country, recent increases in overall crime highlight the ongoing need to support crime prevention and community safety initiatives.
- The Government remains committed to reducing gun and gang violence across Canada.
- The Government has taken actions that prioritize public safety while being fair to legitimate, law-abiding firearms owners and businesses.
- The Government has invested up to $327.6 million over five years, and $100 million ongoing, to establish the Initiative to Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence.
- The Government remains committed to protecting children from sexual exploitation online. Budget 2019 included $22.24 million over three years to further strengthen efforts under the National Strategy for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation on the Internet.
- The Government’s investments to address human trafficking reflect its commitment to combat this abhorrent crime. In 2019, the Government launched a new National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking that is supported by an investment of $57 million over five years and $10 million ongoing.
- Impaired driving is a leading criminal cause of death and injury in Canada, and drug-impaired driving is increasing. Building on the success of our Don't Drive High campaign, the Government will continue public awareness efforts around the dangers of drug-impaired driving.
This report includes all Criminal Code and federal statute offences reported by police services to Statistics Canada’s Uniform Crime Reporting Survey. It examines trends in overall crime as well as specific offences, including homicide, firearms, human trafficking, child sexual exploitation and impaired driving. Comparisons are made at the provincial/territorial and census metropolitan area levels. Note that information on hate crime, organized crime and cybercrime are not part of this release and will be released separately in late November
It should be noted that these crime statistics reflect only those incidents that are reported to the police. Many crimes are traditionally under-reported (e.g., sexual assault) and statistics can be affected by large-scale criminal events, social movements and changes in legislation, policies and procedures. For the first time, police services provided data on the race of all victims and accused persons involved in incidents of homicide.
Police-reported crime in Canada, as measured by the Crime Severity Index (CSI), increased 5% in 2019, the fifth consecutive annual increase. However, the 2019 CSI value of 79.5 was still 9% lower than a decade earlier (87.8).
- The rise in the CSI was driven by rate increases in both violent and non-violent offences, notably sexual assault (+7%), child pornography (+46%), human trafficking (+43%), uttering threats (+20%) and fraud (+8%).
- Increases in crime were reported in all provinces and territories, except for a slight decline in Quebec (-1%). The largest provincial increases were seen in Prince Edward Island (+18%) and British Columbia (+17%).
Homicide and guns and gangs
- The national homicide rate increased 2% in 2019. Police reported 678 homicides, 20 more than the previous year, driven primarily by increases in the Prairie Provinces.
- Police reported 261 homicides committed with a firearm in 2019, 10 more (4% rate increase) than in 2018. Handguns accounted for 60% of these firearm homicides. Half (51%) of all firearm homicides were gang-related in 2019.
- Police reported 162 gang-related homicides, 6 more than in 2018. Almost 9 in 10 in ten (86%) gang-related homicides were committed with a firearm, usually a handgun.
Homicide victims and accused: Indigenous and racialized communities
- In 2019, there were 174 Indigenous victims of homicide, a 20% increase from 2018. In addition, 194 Indigenous persons were accused of committing homicide in 2019, a 26% increase from 2018. Indigenous people were about 7 times more likely to be a victim of homicide and 11 times more likely to be accused of committing homicide compared to non-Indigenous people.
- According to the 2016 Census, 22% of the population reported as belonging to a racialized community (referred to in report as visible minorities). In 2019, police reported one-third (31%) of homicide victims in 2019 as belonging to a racialized community, 44% of whom were identified as Black. Almost one-quarter (24%) of those accused of homicide were reported by police as belonging to a racialized community.
Violent crimes (e.g., firearms, sexual assaults, sexual offences against children, human trafficking)
- For the fifth year in a row, violent firearm crime increased (+21%): discharging a firearm with intent (+28%), pointing of a firearm (+17%), and using a firearm in the commission of an indictable offence (+14%).
- In 2019, there were almost 31,000 police-reported sexual assaults, representing a 7% increase in the rate and the fifth consecutive annual increase. In 2019, 10% of Level 1 sexual assaults reported to police were classified as “unfounded”, meaning it had been determined through police investigation that the incident reported did not occur, nor was it attempted. This represents a decrease from 14% just two years earlier.
- In 2019, police reported about 10,000 sexual offences against children, representing a 9% rate increase from 2018. In addition, child pornography offences increased by 46%.
- In 2019, there were 511 incidents of human trafficking reported under the Criminal Code (341 incidents) and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (170 incidents), an increase of 44%. Incidents tended to occur in urban centres, notably in Toronto, Ottawa, Montréal and Halifax.
Impaired driving and drug-impaired driving
- Police-reported impaired driving incidents increased for the second consecutive year, up 19% in 2019, the largest annual increase in over three decades. Police reported almost 86,000 impaired driving incidents in 2019, 85% of which involved alcohol only.
- Drug-impaired driving continues to increase. Almost 6,500 drug-impaired driving violations were reported in 2019, about 2,000 more than the previous year, representing a 43% rate increase. Drug-impaired driving now accounts for 8% of all impaired driving incidents, with incidents comprising both alcohol and drug impairment accounting for a further 5%.
Prepared by: John Turner, Policy Analyst, Portfolio Affairs and Communications Branch, 613-864-5338
Approved by: Jill Wherrett, ADM, Portfolio Affairs and Communications Branch, 613-949-6435
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