Canada's murder capital isn't its biggest city: StatsCan

Canada’s crime rate has remained essentially unchanged in 2016, according to report released by Statistics Canada. The latest release by the national statistics agency reveals a continuing trend of decreasing crime across the country over the past 20 years.

While Canada’s overall crime rate, referred to as the Crime Severity Index (CSI), was up 1 per cent compared to 2015, it still sits 28 per cent lower than in 2006. StatsCan reports that violent crime declined by 1 per cent compared to 2015. However, there were increases among specific violations, with a 30 per cent increase of sexual violations against children, non-homicide related deaths were up by 14 per cent and aggravated sexual assault was up by six per cent.

The national homicide was down too, with the largest drops coming from Alberta, Quebec and British Columbia, giving the country a national homicide rate of 1.68 people per 100,000. Those were offset by rises in Ontario and Saskatchewan. The attempted murder rate also went down slightly compared to 2015, clock in at 2.14 per 100,000 people. Broken down to the provincial level, seven of Canada’s thirteen provinces and territories reported decreases in their CSI values.

Thunder Bay was given a dubious mention for having the highest homicide rate among the census metropolitan areas, with 6.64 homicides per 100,000. The next worst city was Edmonton, which had a homicide rate half of Thunder Bay’s. However, the city with the highest total number of homicides was Toronto, with 96 recorded in 2016. Nevertheless, the city’s homicide rate was 1.55 per 100,000, given the size of its population.

The latest numbers are likely to boost approval of the less punitive policies that Justin Trudeau and the federal Liberals have pursued since coming to power. Since coming to power, they have moved to strike down tough-on-crime legislation that was pursued by the Harper government in the preceding years.