Crime rate in Canada at lowest level since 1972, Statistics Canada says

Fewer crimes were reported to police in Canada in 2011 than at any other time in the last 40 years, Statistics Canada said Tuesday — a revelation that comes as political leaders wrestle with how to curb gun violence on the streets of Toronto.

Police services reported nearly 2 million incidents last year, about 110,000 fewer than in 2010, the agency reported. And the severity of crime index — a tool used to measure the extent of serious crime in Canada — also declined by six per cent.

“Overall, this marked the eighth consecutive decrease in Canada’s crime rate,” the study said. “Since peaking in 1991, the crime rate has generally been decreasing, and is now at its lowest point since 1972.”

There was, however, a reported increase last year in homicide, sexual offences against children, impaired driving and most drug offences. In particular, there were 44 more homicides in Canada in 2011 than in 2010, bringing the total number to 598.

Statistics Canada said both the crime rate and the severity index declined or remained stable in regions throughout the country. Western provinces generally reported higher crime rates and crime severity than those in the east.

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