In 2010, police-reported crime in Canada continued its downward trend. Both the volume and severity of crime fell from the previous year, down 5% and 6% respectively.
There were approximately 77,000 fewer police-reported crimes in 2010 than in 2009. Decreases among property crimesnamely theft under $5,000, mischief, motor vehicle thefts, and break and entersaccounted for the majority of the decline. Police also reported decreases in homicide, attempted murder, robbery and assault.
The 2010 crime rate, which measures the volume of police-reported crime, reached its lowest level since the early 1970s. The Crime Severity Index, which measures the seriousness of crime, dropped to its lowest point since this measure first became available in 1998.
The severity of crime decreased or remained stable across the country in 2010, with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Alberta and British Columbia reported the largest declines, down 8% and 7% respectively.
Most of Canada’s census metropolitan areas, including the ten largest, reported decreases in crime severity. Despite an 8% decline, Regina continued to report the highest index in the country followed by the other western cities of Saskatoon and Winnipeg.
Canada’s Violent Crime Severity Index fell 6%, the fourth consecutive annual decline and the largest drop seen in more than a decade. The decline in the rate of violent crime was more modest, down 3%.
With 554 homicides in 2010, the homicide rate dropped 10% and reached its lowest point since the mid-1960s. The rate of attempted murders also fell (-14%) and reached its lowest point since 1977.
Following three consecutive annual increases, the rate of impaired driving offences dropped 6% in 2010. The rate of impaired driving has been generally declining since peaking in 1981.
In contrast to most types of crime, increases were reported in the rates of child pornography offences (+36%), firearm offences (+11%), criminal harassment (+5%), and sexual assault (+5%).
Drug offences also increased in 2010 (+10%), driven primarily by a higher number of cannabis offences. The overall increase continues the upward trend that began in the early 1990s.
Both the rate and severity of youth crime decreased in 2010, down 7% and 6% respectively. The severity of violent crime committed by youth also decreased, down 4% from 2009.
There were 56 youth accused of homicide in 2010, 23 fewer than in 2009, resulting in a 29% decline in the rate. Declines were also seen in the rates of youth accused for many other offences in 2010, including motor vehicle thefts (-14%), serious assault (-12%) and break and enters (-10%). Robbery was one of the few crimes committed by youth to increase in 2010, up 2%.