SSK News

Crime Statistics – A Lie

“It’s a damned lie that crime is down”

By Licia Corbella, The Calgary Herald – July 24, 2010

Good Morning Parents! As most of you are aware, Statistics Canada has just released it’s crime report for 2009, which it does every summer. Street Smart Kidz has anticipated the release of this report every summer for the last 5 years, hoping it will tell us something different than what we see on the streets every day. Hoping it will not reflect what our National, Provincial and City Police Departments deal with on a daily basis. Hoping for the best, knowing otherwise.

After going through the report three times, once again frustration set in. It’s amazing how you can manipulate numbers, massage them and bend them until you see what you want to see, then declare to the public “we are just fine”, “crime is trending lower” and my favourite, “as the population age’s, crime will continue to decrease because 62% of violent crime is committed by the 18 to 25 demographic”. I’m curious as to why they fail to mention 71.4% of child molesters in Canada in 2008 were 46 years of age or older

So in my frustration of the report and it’s conclusions, I spent the weekend talking to old and new friends in our countries law enforcement agencies, from Victoria to St. John’s, and their over whelming conclusion was Stats Can needs to include interviews with our Police Departments before publishing or at the very least, go for a Ride-A-Long before trying to tell us crime is down. I then researched the Press for article’s on this report and there were many. I read 17 editorials from coast to coast and all were great in there own way and staying with the facts.

One article, in my opinion stood out. It captured the feelings of disbelief and frustration shared with me by Police Departments and parents. I’m proud to present the article by Licia Corbella, lcorbella@theherald.canwest.com, from The Calgary Herald, www.calgaryherald.com. , as it appeared July 24, 2010.

“It’s a damned lie that crime is down”

Big, bold headlines screamed things like:”Crime rate falls 17% in past decade: report” and ” Good News Report’ More than 45% of offences minor thefts”. Ahhh. The annual rite of summer, Statistics Canada’s crime report is out – and the living is easy. Or is it?

After “Police-reported crime statistics in Canada, 2009” was released on Tuesday, experts were trotted out and talk radio callers and online commentators said things like: the mainstream media and the 24 hour news cycle have given Canadians the false impression that crime is really bad in Canada. “Nothing but fiction”, said one. Well, I’ll tell you what’s akin to a Danielle Steele novel – the idea that when it comes to crime, it’s all picnics and ice cream in Canada.

Sure, crime has started to fall in the past decade – this is a trend that demographers have predicted for a long time. We have an aging population and when it comes to crime, the vast majority of it is committed by males under the age of 30. As the recent report states: “Youth and young adults commit a disproportionate amount of crime. In 2009, age-specific rates for those accused of crime were highest among 15-to-22-year-olds, with the peak age at 17 years.”

The high-water mark for crime was in 1991 and since then there has been somewhat of a steady, though gradual, decline. But go back to Statistics Canada’s report: Canadian Crime Statistics, 2007 ( http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2008007/article/10658-eng.htm) and take a look at the graphs that chart Canada’s crime rate to 2007 from 1962 – you know that pre-Trudeaupian, unenlightened time when we actually locked up pedophiles and rapists and let our kids run free instead of the other way around?

The 2008 report starts off with this sunny statement: “Canada’s national crime rate, based on data reported by police, declined for the third consecutive year in 2007, continuing the downward trend in crime since the rate peaked in 1991.” But right on the same page as that quote is a graph of the crime rate per 100,000 population in Canada from 1962 to 2007. The crime rate increase is so steep the graph looks like a drawing of Mount Everest.

In 1962 – when police reported crime started to be mapped – there were slightly more than 2,000 crimes per 100,000 population; in 2007, it was a whopping 6,984. But this is mild stuff. For an even steeper, more precipitous climb, look at the graph that illustrates the exponential rise in violent crime.

In 1962, there were just slightly more than 200 violent crimes committed per 100,000 population. In 2007, that number spiked almost five times to 930 violent crimes per 100,000 population. In other words, we are a much more violent society today than we once were in recent history. What is even more alarming about these figures is it doesn’t take into account the aging of Canada’s population. Aging populations should show a decline in violent crime, not an increase. In the report released Tuesday, there is a subheading called: “Youth violent crime declining, but still higher than a decade ago.”

So, the trend is down, but it’s also up, and if you take a longer-term view of things, it’s way, way up. Last year, in a column in the Toronto Sun ( torontosun.com), famed Canadian defense lawyer Edward Greenspan, who was Conrad Black’s lead trial lawyer two years ago, wrote: “I am frequently told Canada is soft on crime. I think that is a myth. Canada is tougher on crime than most people believe, and getting tougher by the day.” Nice try Edward.

Yet another example of Greenspan not doing his homework. There’s a reason why parents don’t let their kids out of their sight anymore, compared to those of us who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, and it’s not because of media hysteria. It’s because the amount of really perverted, depraved crimes have increased exponentially owing to our revolving-door justice system.

The real myth is the belief parroted by the hug-a-thug crowd that things have never been better. Forget myth. That’s a big, fat lie. In Thursday’s National Post (nationalpost.com), Bob Tarantino points out that P.E.I. Justice Gordon Campbell looked into the average sentence meted out for MAJOR SEXUAL ASSAULTS against a child and learned it was just four years. We’re talking rape.

Since most criminals in Canada serve just two-thirds of their sentence behind bars, those people who used to be locked up for decades back in the 1960’s are usually out in a couple of years to victimize some other child or children over and over.

So next summer when 2010’s crime rate numbers are dished out like a frosty treat that leaves everyone feeling rather refreshed about things, remember Mark Twain was fond of repeating: “There are lies, damned lies and statistics.”

lcorbella@theherald.canwest.com