Crime down, but Nunavut still leads in violence

Property offences drop by whopping 21 per cent


Even though Nunavut’s overall crime rate declined by 11 per cent in 2005, you’re still wise to lock your doors and watch your back.

That’s because Nunavut still has the highest rate of violent crime in Canada, according to national crime numbers for 2005 released last month by Statistics Canada.

The numbers show that violent crime rates in Nunavut last year were about seven times higher than Canada’s national rate.

Nunavut also had higher crime rates for:

* attempted murder (seven times higher);
* assaults (eight times higher);
* sexual assault (11 times higher);
* other sexual offenses (three times higher);
* other crimes of violence (nearly five times higher.)

The rate of property crimes dropped by 21 per in Nunavut in 2005, and Nunavut’s property crime rate is now lower than in the Yukon, Northwest Territories or British Columbia.

But Nunavut’s break-in rate was still three and a half times higher than the national rate in 2005.

Nunavut had the highest number of cannabis offences in Canada, but not the highest rate of drug offences — that honour went to the Northwest Territories.

Statistics Canada’s figures show the rate of people in Nunavut who were charged with crime, excluding traffic offences, was more than five times higher than the national rate in 2005.

On the positive side, Nunavut’s rates for robbery, theft, fraud and most traffic offenses were lower than the national rates.

Canada’s national crime rate, based on incidents reported to police, fell five per cent last year.

Statistics Canada says reductions in non-violent offences such as counterfeiting, break-ins and auto thefts accounted for most of the decline in the crime rate, which fell in every province and territory.

There were nonetheless increases in serious crimes such as homicide, attempted murder, assaults and robbery across the country.

To counter Nunavut’s higher crime rates, 13 organizations in Nunavut received over $270,000 last year through the National Crime Prevention Strategy.

“Connecting people and strengthening communities are fundamental to crime prevention through social development, and are at the heart of these initiatives,” says its web site.

Examples of some projects supported under the strategy are:

* Qaggiq Theatre Company’s project, Crime in our Community: Theatre Workshops and Performances to provide a forum for youth to explore social issues in their life;
* In partnership with the Nunavut Violence Against Women Working Group, the Qulliit Nunavut Status of Women Council’s symposium, Territorial Symposium on Violence Against Women;
* Coral Harbour’s On the Land Program — Youth and Justice Committee to bring at-risk youth onto the land.

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