THUNDER BAY – The City of Thunder Bay has the dubious honour of holding the title of Murder Capital of Canada. The figures were released by Statistics Canada on Monday. With a total of seven homicides in 2017, Thunder Bay recorded the highest homicide rate among the CMAs for the second year in a row (5.80 homicides per 100,000 population). Abbotsford–Mission (with 9 homicides) and Edmonton (with 49 homicides) had the next highest homicide rates (4.72 and 3.49 per 100,000 population, respectively).
The crime severity index for Thunder Bay has declined. However the same can’t be said across the country.
Two pieces in the crime stats which are positive are that the crime severity index in Thunder Bay has declined over the reporting period. The overall crime severity rate in the city declined by three per cent. The other positive is the Thunder Bay Police Service clearance rate for investigations is one of the highest in the country. The message is that if a crime is committed in the city, the person will be caught.
Police-reported crime in Canada, as measured by both the crime rate and the Crime Severity Index (CSI), increased for the third consecutive year in 2017. The national crime rate rose 1%, while the police-reported CSI increased 2%. This was the third consecutive increase in the CSI following an 11-year downward trend from 2003 to 2014. The CSI is a measure of police-reported crime that takes into account both the volume and severity of crime.
Most of Canada’s provinces and territories reported increases in their CSI in 2017. The exceptions were Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. From 2016 to 2017, more than half of Canada’s census metropolitan areas (CMAs) reported increases in their CSI.
The 2% increase in the national CSI from 2016 to 2017 was the result of increases in numerous offences. Most notably, there were increases in the rate of police-reported incidents of sexual assault (level 1) (+13%), possession of stolen property (+15%), motor vehicle theft (+6%) and homicide (+7%). Combined, these offences accounted for just under half of the increase in the CSI.
Overall, Canadian police services reported over 1.9 million Criminal Code incidents (excluding traffic) in 2017, almost 45,300 more incidents than in 2016.