Crime in Canada - Statistics & Facts

Crime in general has declined in Canada since 2000 with the 2017 crime rate around 30 percent lower than peak levels in 2003. Property crime and violent crime have followed this general trend with rates dropping 39 percent and 23 percent respectively during the same time period. The severity of crimes committed has also been on the decline, according to the Crime Severity Index (CSI) which tracks crimes committed weighted by their seriousness. The rate of drug-related crime increased slightly over this period but began steadily dropping since 2011. The recent legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada is predicted to further decrease such offenses. The territories with some of the highest crime rates include Nunavut, Yukon, and the Northern Territories, all of which have violent and property crime rates multiple times higher than the national average.

Homicide, the willful killing of one human being by another, is often used as a key indicator for violent crime as a whole as it is the most reliably reported violent crime and the easiest to compare against other countries. In 2017, Canada’s homicide rate was 1.8 homicides per 100,000 residents. While this is roughly double that of western European countries it is still about three times lower than its southern neighbor, the United States which stood at 5.4 in 2017.

Burglaries and motor vehicle thefts, two categories in which Canadian figures exceeded U.S. figures in the past, have declined to the point of being on par with the U.S. or lower overall. In 2017, the rates for burglaries and motor vehicle thefts in Canada were 434 and 232 . Respectively, both figures roughly 60 percent lower than their peaks since 2000. It is thought that the decreasing rate of these crimes, apart from the influences of the general decline in crime, stem from advances in anti-theft technology.

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