Territory racks up seven 'homicides; in 2007

Violent crime up, property crime down in Nunavut


Your chances of getting beaten, raped or murdered got worse if you were a Nunavut resident in 2007, but your chances of avoiding thefts and break-ins got better, according to Statistics Canada's latest release of police-reported crime numbers.

The new numbers tell an old Nunavut story: that violent crime's still getting worse but property crime's on the decline.

Overall, Nunavut owns the second-highest crime rate in Canada, well behind Canada's crime rate leader, the Northwest Territories. But Nunavut still leads the nation in its per capita rate of violent crime.

In 2007, Nunavut's crime rate fell by 5.3 per cent, with the rate of property crime falling by 4.2 per cent. That compares with a 25 per cent drop in property crime and an 11 per cent drop in all crimes recorded in 2006.

But the rate of violent crime rose by 4.6 per cent in 2007, driven upwards by a rising numbers of assaults and sexual assaults.

That's reverses a trend seen in 2006, when violent crime dropped by 9 per cent,

The raw numbers for 2007 show that many Nunavummiut continue to engage in interpersonal violence: police recorded 1,554 incidents of common assault for a 2.7 per cent increase over the previous year and 357 incidents of more serious assaults, for a 4.1 per cent increase.

That contrasts with a 4.1 per decrease in the overall assault rate recorded in 2006.

But only 586 incidents of break-and-enter were recorded, last year, for a 5 per cent drop in the rate.

Also in 2007, Nunavut racked up seven homicides, the most ever for any one year since 1999. That includes the shooting deaths of three Cambridge Bay residents early in 2007, and the killing of an RCMP member in Kimmirut last fall.

The rate of sexual assault, already the highest in the country, rose by 11.7 per cent, with a total of 207 sexual assaults recorded in 2007. That's a big reversal from 2006, when sexual assaults dropped by 36 per cent.

It's the Northwest Territories, however, that saw the biggest leap in crime rates in 2007, 6.2 per over the previous year. Robberies rose by 31 per cent, sexual assaults rose 30 per cent and common assaults rose by 11.5 per cent in the NWT.

Canada's national crime rate fell by 7 per cent last year, with the provinces of Quebec, Ontario and Prince Edward Island recording the lowest rates.

The figures show that the most crime-free places in Canada are big cities, especially Toronto, Quebec City, Ottawa, Hamilton and Montreal.

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