Canada’s crime rates and severity highest in northern territories

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Canada’s three northern territories had the highest crime rates and crime severity indexes, which measures both the volume and severity of crime, in 2017. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)
Across the North, all three of Canada’s territories had the highest crime rates and crime severity in the country last year.

That’s according to a report by Statistics Canada on the police-reported crime rate and crime severity index (CSI) — a measure of police reported crime that takes into account both the volume and severity of crime — for 2017.

The Northwest Territories topped the list, having both the highest crime rate and CSI in the country. The report says the territory’s crime severity index (CSI) was 303.8 in 2017, a one per cent increase from 2016. That’s compared to a national average of 72.9.

The crime rate for the territory in 2017 was 40,914 per 100,000 population, a one per cent increase from 2016, compared to a national average of 5,334.

Driving the increase were more reports of level one sexual assaults along with sexual violations against children and assaults, according to the report. This was offset, however, by a decrease in mischief and motor vehicle thefts.

Crime up in Nunavut

Nunavut had the second highest crime rate and CSI in Canada last year at 34,948 and 297.6 respectively. That was a two per cent increase in the crime rate and one per cent increase in the CSI for the territory from 2016.

The increase was driven by an increase in reported homicides and offset by a decrease in cases of breaking and entering and attempted murder, the report says.

The police-reported crime severity index for the territories from 1998 to 2017. (Statistics Canada)
Despite more homicides, crime dropping in Yukon

Finally the Yukon took the third highest spot with a crime rate of 20,781 per 100,000 people, a decrease of six per cent from the previous year, and a CSI of 189.3, a one per cent increase from 2016.

The Yukon saw an increase in the number of homicides last year with eight reported victims.

Meanwhile there was a decrease in instances of breaking and entering between 2016 and 2017.

Police-reported Crime Severity Index and crime rate, by province and territory:

The crime rate and crime severity index for Canada’s territories and provinces in 2017. (Statistics Canada)
Rates and severity slightly up in Canada

Across Canada, the report says the national crime rate rose one per cent while the CSI increased by two per cent. The only jurisdictions that didn’t see a rise in CSI were Newfoundland and Labrador, P.E.I., Saskatchewan and B.C.

The report attributes the increased numbers to a seven per cent increase in the national homicide rate and a 4 per cent increase in the attempted murder rate, as well as an increase in police-reported sexual assaults.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Offender who stabbed man in heart in Northern Canada to be released from prison, CBC News

Finland: Police in Northern Finland overstretched, says retiring officer, YLE News

Sweden: Cross-border Nordic policing would better serve Arctic: politician, Radio Sweden

United States: Alaska’s crime rates are soaring, stats show, Alaska Public Media

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