True, the number of homicides in Canada increased
this year over last. True, fatal stabbings increased sharply. True, the
figures arrive amid a divisive national policy debate over Prime
Minister Stephen Harper’s tough-on-crime agenda.
But, according to the experts, what is the real conclusion to be drawn from the latest Statistics Canada figures on homicides?
Essentially: Take a deep breath. “You can’t infer anything from
today’s numbers,” said Simon Fraser University criminologist Neil Boyd.
“An increase of 7 per cent is of no real consequence.”
broad trends from one year’s stats is equivalent to holding up a cold
winter’s day as proof that climate change is a fraud, criminologists
say. When experts look for criminal patterns in Statscan numbers, they
work with periods of no less than 10 years.