Overall Crime Rates and Violent Crime Rates

The Crime Severity Index issued by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics tracks changes in the severity of police-reported crime from year to year. It takes into account not only the change in volume of a particular crime, but also the relative seriousness of that crime in comparison to other crimes.

This Index helps answer questions such as: is the crime coming to the attention of police more or less serious than before; and, is police-reported crime in a given city or province more or less serious in certain areas of Canada than in Canada overall?

The Crime Severity Index complements other measures of crime. It provides a different way of looking at crime and addresses some of the limitations of the traditional crime rate. More information about the Index may be found at: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-004-x/2009001/part-partie1-eng.htm

crime severity index

Canadian police services reported just over 1.8 million criminal incidents (Criminal Code offences excluding traffic) in 2013, down approximately 132,000 from the previous year.

Most offences were down in 2013. The decline in the CSI was specifically attributable to declines in breaking and entering and robbery. Decreases in some of the less serious but very frequent offences,such as theft of $5,000 or under and mischief, also contributed to the drop in the CSI.

However, some offences were up in 2013. In particular, police services reported more incidents of extortion, child pornography, aggravated sexual assault (level 3), sexual violations against children and identity fraud.

police-reported crime rates

Crime Severity Index in Niagara, 2013
Total Crime Severity Index                         57.3
Violent Crime Severity Index                      49.2
Non Violent Crime Severity Index              60.1

Source: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics ‎, Statistics Canada
Retrieved From: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/140723/dq140723b-eng.htm

Most census metropolitan areas (CMAs) in Canada reported lower crime rates and CSIs (crime severity index) in 2012 than the year prior. However, the St. Catharines-Niagara CMA (which doesn’t include Grimsby and West Lincoln) had a higher Crime Severity Index than in 2011.

Most census metropolitan areas in Canada report lower crime rates and CSIs in 2012

police-reported crime severity index

Toronto reported a 7% decrease in its police-reported crime rate in 2012, and was the CMA with the lowest overall crime rate for the sixth consecutive year. Québec’s rate was second lowest, and recorded the lowest CSI.

Most CMAs saw lower CSIs in 2012. Only Moncton, Windsor, Kelowna, Guelph, St. Catharines–Niagara, Gatineau and Brantford had higher CSIs than in the previous year.

Looking at violent crime, Winnipeg reported the highest violent Crime Severity Index, followed by Saskatoon and Thunder Bay (Chart 9).

police-reported violent crime severity index

The CMAs of St. John’s and Moncton recorded the highest rates of violent crime, despite violent CSIs (77.3 and 73.4 respectively) that were below the national average of 81.4. The police-reported crime rates in these CMAs were driven by a relatively high number of common assaults. Since these offences are considered less serious than most other violent crimes, they carry less weight in the calculation of the violent CSI (Table 5).

Source: Statistics Canada, Police Reported Crime Statistics in Canada, 2012
Retrieved From: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2013001/article/11854-eng.htm

The Nature of Crime and Crime Investigations

The 2013 Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) Annual report notes “incidents of reported crime continue to decline in many categories across the Region”. Partnerships with agencies, community groups and citizens are cited as an influencing factor in this overall decrease.

Between 2012 and 2013 in Niagara, there was a 12 per cent decrease in crimes against persons; a 14 per cent decrease in crimes against property; a 3 per cent increase in Narcotics Control Act incidents; and a 2 per cent decrease in other Criminal Code violations.

While crime rates have decreased, investigations are more complex, with an increase in rules, guidelines, and areas of judicial process also increasing the amount of time required to complete investigations.

Closed Circuit Television Cameras
Installation of closed circuit television cameras (CCTVs) in 2012 in the downtown core of St. Catharines allows for more proactive policing and prevention of crime. The CCTVs support the Downtown Foot Patrol initiative, a partnership between the St. Catharines Downtown Business Improvement Association, the City of St. Catharines and the Niagara Regional Police Service.

Source: NRPS 2013 Annual Report
Retrieved From: http://www.niagaraknowledgeexchange.com/resources-publications/niagara-regional-police-services-2013-annual-report/

Hate Crimes in Niagara

Police-Reported Hate Crime in Canada, 2012 is a Statistics Canada report. It points to the fact that Canada’s population is increasingly diverse, and race/ethnicity is the most common motivation for hate crime.

Highlights include:

  • In 2012, police reported 1,414 criminal incidents motivated by hate in Canada, 82 more incidents than in 2011.
  • About half (51%) of police-reported hate crimes in 2012 were motivated by hatred of race or ethnicity. Another 30% were motivated by religion and another 13% by sexual orientation.
  • Over two-thirds (69%) of hate crimes were non-violent. Mischief was the most commonly reported offence among police-reported hate crimes, making up over half of all hate crime incidents: 6% were hate mischief in relation to religious property and 51% were other types of mischief.
  • Almost one-third (31%) of police-reported hate crimes in 2012 involved violent offences, such as assault, uttering threats and criminal harassment. Hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation (67%) or race/ethnicity (32%) were the most likely to involve violent offences. Among religious hate crimes, 13% were violent.
  • The majority of police-reported hate crime incidents in 2012 were concentrated in major cities (CMAs). While the 10 largest Canadian cities account for just over half of the population (52%), they reported 63% of the hate crimes in 2012.
  • Among crimes motivated by hate, the accused were predominantly young and male. Among persons accused of hate crimes in 2012, 84% were male and 57% were under age 25. The majority (62%) of the youth accused of hate crimes who were under age 18 were accused of non-violent offences, with 48% accused of mischief.

Chart: Majority of Hate Crimes Reported in Major Cities
The majority (82%) of police-reported hate crimes in Canada occurred in major cities (Census Metropolitan Areas, CMAs). The 10 largest CMAs in Canada, home to 52% of the population covered by the UCR2 survey, accounted for 63% of hate crimes in 2012.

Toronto, Montréal, and Vancouver, Canada’s three largest CMAs, accounted for 35% of police-reported hate crime incidents in 2012. These three CMAs, however, did not have the highest police-reported hate crime rates per 100,000 population; Hamilton, Thunder Bay and Peterborough reported the highest rates of hate crime in 2012.

police-reported hate crimes

Differences in police-reported hate crime in different cities, or from year to year, may be related to the demographic mix of the population (see Textbox 3). The reporting of hate crimes can also be influenced by the presence of a dedicated hate crime unit or hate crime programs within a police service, as well as by community outreach programs and public awareness campaigns (Textbox 2).

The increase in hate crime incidents reported by police in Thunder Bay is an example of this, where awareness and reporting of hate crimes increased in 2012 leading up to the formal establishment of the Thunder Bay Hate Crime Awareness Committee’s “Hate Divides a Community Campaign” in 2013. Similarly, Hamilton, which also has a Hate Crime Unit, has attributed recent increases to improvements in reporting (Hamilton Police Service 2012).

Source: Statistics Canada
Retrieved From: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2014001/article/14028-eng.htm#a4

Youth Crime

The following Statistics Canada table shows a reduction in the overall the youth crime rate in Canada per 10,000 youth population, and the Youth Crime Severity Index, from 2001 to 2011.

Chart 1: Youth Crime Rate and Youth Crime Severity Index, Canada 2001-2011

Table summary: This table displays the results of youth crime rate and youth crime severity index. The information is grouped by year (appearing as row headers), youth crime rate and youth crime severity index, calculated using rate per 10,000 youth population (12 to 17) units of measure (appearing as column headers).
Year Youth crime rate (per 100,000 youth population (12-17) Youth Crime Severity Index  
2001 7,159 106
2002 6,945 101
2003 7,280 106
2004 6,959 101
2005 6,596 97
2006 6,812 100
2007 6,782 102
2008 6,577 96
2009 6,592 97
2010 6,186 92
2011 5,564 83
  1. The Index has been standardized to a base year of 2006 which is equal to 100.
    Note: Refers to youth (12 to 17 years) who were formally charged by police (or recommended for charging) as well as youth who were cleared by other means (e.g. alternative measures).
    Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Uniform Crime Reporting Survey.

Source: Youth crime rate and youth Crime Severity Index, Canada, 2001 to 2011, Statistics Canada
Retrieved From: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-005-x/2012001/article/11749/c-g/desc/desc-01-eng.htm

Niagara Youth Crime Statistics: The 2013 youth crime rate in Niagara was 11.80 per 1,000 youths, significantly below the 2013 Ontario Municipal Benchmarking Initiative (OMBI) Median which was 34.33 per 1,000 youths.

The downward trend in the youth crime rate in Niagara between 2009 and 2013 can be attributed to a number of factors, including implementation of extra-judicial measures and the School Resource Officer (SRO) program in Niagara.

The following table and notes for understanding results are included in the 2013 Municipal Performance Measurement Program (MPMP) Results for the Regional Municipality of Niagara.

Police Services 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2013 OMBI Median Difference
Operating costs for police services per person $351.21 $314.83 $290.18 $290.05 $283.61 $289.98 $61.23
Total costs for police services per person $362.64 $326.83 $290.18 $302.51 $296.63 $298.12 $64.52
Violent crime rate per 1,000 persons 7.27 8.12 8.83 9.80 9.37 8.51 -1.24
Property crime rate per 1,000 persons 28.12 32.22 33.04 36.89 38.56 27.8 0.32
Total crime rate per 1,000 persons (Criminal Code offences, excluding traffic) 39.80 44.74 49.05 54.42 52.71 40.44 -0.64
Youth crime rate per 1,000 youths 11.80 15.21 19.14 51.28 55.22 34.33 -22.53

 Notes & Key Factors For Understanding Results

  • Niagara has a significant tourist population that places pressure on policing costs.
  • The Region’s geographic proximity to several major border crossings can also influence policing costs.
  • The large geographic area of the regional municipality can also impact on the cost of policing. Year-over-year change can be influenced by changes in the number of crime incidents, but also by changes in population.
  • Crime rates can be influenced by a number of factors including economic, social, demographic and political.
  • Reporting policies and practices can also influence these results.
  • Niagara’s policing costs per capita are above the OMBI median in 2013.

Contact Person: Paul Divers, Corporate Analyst, Niagara Regional Police Service

Source: Niagara Region
Retrieved From: http://www.niagaraknowledgeexchange.com/resources-publications/2013-municipal-performance-measurement-program-mpmp-results/

Criminal Code Violations and Incidents

Statistics Canada provides tables at the following links for census metropolitan areas (CMAs) in Canada, including the St. Catharines-Niagara CMA (which does not include Grimsby and West Lincoln).

The following table includes selected data from Table 4: Police-reported crime rate, by census metropolitan area, 2013. It compares data for the St. Catharines-Niagara CMA with other Ontario CMAs.

Table 4: Police-Reported Crime Rate by Census Metropolitan Area, 2013

Table summary: This table displays the results of Police-reported crime rate. The information is grouped by Census
metropolitan area (appearing as row headers), Total crime (crime rate), Violent crime, Property crime, Other Criminal Code offences and Drug offences, calculated using rate, Percent change in rate 2012 to 2013 and Percent change in rate 2003 to 2013 units of measure (appearing as column headers).
metropolitan areaNote 1, Note 2, Note 3
Total crime (crime rate)Note 4 Violent crime Property crime Other Criminal Code offences Drug offences
rate percent change in rate 2012 to 2013 percent change in rate 2003 to 2013 rate percent change in rate 2012 to 2013 rate percent change in rate 2012 to 2013 rate percent change in rate 2012 to 2013 rate percent change in rate 2012 to 2013
OttawaNote 8, Note 9 3,615 -12 -42 672 5 2,442 -17 500 -4 184 0
Kingston 4,848 -5 -27 1,011 -7 3,250 -7 587 8 170 0
PeterboroughNote 5 4,489 -3 -30 823 2 2,899 -8 768 12 175 -13
Toronto 2,941 -7 -42 749 -8 1,936 -7 256 -1 192 -12
Hamilton 3,786 -12 -41 758 -13 2,623 -13 405 -3 280 -3
St. Catharines–Niagara 3,992 -12 -36 729 -12 2,817 -14 446 -1 174 0
Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo 4,336 -6 -22 847 -9 2,897 -6 592 -2 316 -2
BrantfordNote 5 6,242 -10 -27 1,219 -8 4,318 -11 705 -8 325 -1
GuelphNote 5 3,557 -14 -20 740 -15 2,349 -15 468 -4 261 2
London 5,225 -8 -25 805 -10 3,332 -9 1,087 -5 269 1
Windsor 4,399 -8 -39 895 -9 2,967 -9 537 -3 185 -8
BarrieNote 5 3,712 -15 -42 706 -11 2,304 -17 702 -11 252 -13
Canada 5,190 -8 -33 1,092 -9 3,146 -8 952 -5 310 -2
Note 1.A census metropolitan area (CMA) consists of one or more neighbouring municipalities situated around a major urban core. A CMA must have a total population of at least 100,000 of which 50,000 or more live in the urban core. To be included in the CMA, other adjacent municipalities must have a high degree of integration with the central urban area, as measured by commuting flows derived from census data. A CMA typically comprises more than one police service.Return to note 1referrerNote 2.CMA populations have been adjusted to follow policing boundaries.Note 3.The Oshawa CMA is excluded from this table due to the incongruity between the police service jurisdictional boundaries and the CMA boundaries.Note 4.Crime rates are based upon Criminal Code incidents, excluding traffic offences. See Table 5 for a list of offences included in the total violent crime, total property crime and total other crime categories.Note 5: Moncton, Peterborough, Brantford, Guelph, Barrie and Kelowna became CMAs in 2006. Therefore, the percent change in total crime rate for these CMAs is calculated from 2006 to 2013.Note 6: With the release of 2013 data, revised population estimates at the respondent level were applied back to and including 2011. This resulted in boundary changes for the CMA of Saguenay. Crime data for these years for this respondent have therefore been revised.Note 7: Gatineau refers to the Quebec part of the Ottawa–Gatineau CMA.Note 8: Ottawa refers to the Ontario part of the Ottawa–Gatineau CMA.Note 9: Ottawa numbers also include child pornography incidents reported by the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre of the RCMP which is located in the City of Ottawa. The Centre responds to Internet-facilitated sexual abuse cases nationally. Therefore, while the incidents are detected by the RCMP Centre located in Ottawa and appear in Ottawa’s crime statistics, the incidents themselves or the offenders are not limited to the city of Ottawa.Note: Police-reported statistics may be affected by differences in the way police services deal with minor offences. In some instances, police or municipalities might choose to deal with some minor offences using municipal by-laws or provincial provisions rather than Criminal Code provisions. Counts are based on the most serious violation in the incident. One incident may involve multiple violations. Data for specific types of crime by census metropolitan area are available from 1991. Rates are calculated on the basis of 100,000 population. Percentage changes are based on unrounded rates. Populations are based on July 1stestimates from Statistics Canada, Demography Division.Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Uniform Crime Reporting Survey.

Retrieved From: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2014001/article/14040/tbl/tbl04-eng.htm

Related to the above information, additional 2013 data from Statistics Canada for the St. Catharines-Niagara CMA is available at the following link:
Source: Table 7 – Police-reported crime for selected offences, by census metropolitan area, 2013
Retrieved From: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2014001/article/14040/tbl/tbl07-eng.htm

CANSIM Table 252-0051, Incident-based crime statistics, by detailed violations, annual, 2009 to 2013 includes statistics for the St. Catharines-Niagara Census Metropolitan Area (CMA); Note: this CMA does not include Grimsby and West Lincoln).

The following specific tables are retrieved from the above link: http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/pick-choisir?lang=eng&searchTypeByValue=1&id=2520051 

Violations: Total Violent Criminal Code Violations
Rate per 100,000 population

Geography 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Canada 1,321.89 1,291.62 1,235.60 1,197.40 1,092.05
Ontario 1,011.66 993.19 956.82 908.44 833.23
Kingston, Ontario 1,122.84 993.06 1,032.32 1,083.07 1,010.56
Hamilton, Ontario 1,100.73 1,139.88 1,070.19 869.67 758.45
St.Catharines-Niagara, Ontario 943.51 930.20 759.25 826.06 728.86
Kitchener-Cambridge-Waterloo, Ontario 973.97 1,022.56 997.03 931.38 846.54
Windsor, Ontario 1,028.02 994.54 918.01 978.77 894.86
Sudbury, Ontario 1,141.76 1,119.41 1,070.12 1,023.75 983.13


Violations: Total Property Crime Violations
Rate per 100,000 population 

Geography 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Canada 4,122.04 3,838.08 3,535.86 3,434.39 3,146.04
Ontario 3,193.27 2,967.50 2,759.56 2,643.52 2,361.03
St.Catharines-Niagara, Ontario 3,878.61 3,578.88 3,187.65 3,262.16 2,817.10


Violations: Total Theft Over $5,000 (non-motor vehicle)
Rate per 100,000 population

Geography 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Canada 46.97 46.02 43.95 44.41 40.78
Ontario 36.82 35.10 35.02 34.10 30.64
St. Catharines-Niagara, Ontario 36.52 40.06 38.62 33.75 28.74

Source: Statistics Canada
Retrieved From: http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/pickchoisir?lang=eng&searchTypeByValue=1&id=2520051

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