Five-year trend shows crime declining in Nunavut: StatsCan

Nunavut’s rate of violent crime decreases by 20 per cent


This Statistics Canada graphic shows a general downward trend across the country in all forms of crime, both violent and non-violent. (COURTESY STATISTICS CANADA)

This Statistics Canada graphic shows a general downward trend across the country in all forms of crime, both violent and non-violent. (COURTESY STATISTICS CANADA)

It appears Nunavut is becoming a safer and less crime-ridden place.

That’s according to new data on police-reported crime, released by Statistics Canada July 22, which shows almost every type of crime in Nunavut decreased significantly between 2010 and 2014.

And while the territories continue to suffer higher crime rates compared to the rest of Canada, Nunavut leads the way in crime reduction among the territories during that period, according to the new StatsCan data.

The total number of criminal incidents reported to police in Nunavut fell about 14 per cent between 2010 and 2014, according to the study, from roughly 13,600 incidents in 2010 to about 11,700 in 2014.

That means the rate of crimes per 100,000 population — the rate that Statistics Canada uses to compare provinces and territories — decreased by about a quarter in Nunavut from 2010 to 2014.

About 30 per cent fewer Nunavummiut, both youth and adults, were charged with crimes in 2014 as compared to 2010, the new numbers also reveal.

And it looks like violent crime is following the same downward trend in Nunavut.

Nunavut’s Crime Severity Index, which tracks changes in the severity of committed crimes by giving more weight to the more serious and violent offences, dropped by just over 20 per cent in the same five-year period, according to StatsCan.

By comparison, the Northwest Territories saw more modest decreases in all of the above mentioned categories of crime in the same time period, but the new data show Yukon’s numbers have risen.

Yukon criminal incidents and the territory’s Crime Severity Index increased by 22 and 10 per cent, respectively, from 2010 to 2014.

In Nunavut, many of the most common and serious crimes also decreased between 2010 and 2014, according to the StatsCan study.

For example, StatsCan’s numbers show homicides in the Nunavut are trending downward: from 2010 to 2014, there were six, seven, five, four and four homicides.

The number of sex crimes against children seems to have fluctuated over that five-year period with a high of 52 total reported incidents in 2011 to a low of 35 in both 2012 and 2014. The number of people charged in connection with those crimes also fluctuated, from a high of 28 in 2012 to a low of 11 in 2010.

StatsCan reported fewer incidents of drug-related offences during that time period, such as simple drug possession or possession for the purpose of trafficking (down by 29 per cent.).

One of the sharpest declines in Nunavut crime between 2010 and 2014 took place with respect to motor vehicle theft, which dropped by more than half, from 204 in 2010 to a total of 91 incidents in 2014, with generally declining numbers in between.

Nationally, Canada’s Crime Severity Index dropped by three per cent between 2013 and 2014, which StatsCan says is the eleventh consecutive year that measurement has gone down.

The volume of crimes across Canada, relative to its population, also shrunk for the eleventh year in a row, dropping to levels not seen since 1969, the study says.

Iqaluit city council heard July 14 that crimes in Iqaluit against persons are down by 20 per cent for the first half of 2015, as compared to the first half of 2014, while drug offences and property crimes increased.

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