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Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
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July 23, 2018

Statistics Canada has released the 2017 results for police-reported crime statistics collected under the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey. This report measures incidents of crime, crime rates (per 100,000 population), and crime severity (based on sentencing data) by types of crime. Data are available for Canada, provinces and Census Metropolitan Areas.


 Canada's crime rate (Criminal Code violations excluding traffic) was 5,334 incidents per 100,000 population.  In comparison, Nova Scotia's crime rate for 2017 was 5,035 per 100,000 population.  Nova Scotia’s total crime rate was below the national rate for the third consecutive year following nearly two decades above the national rate. Halifax's crime rate was below the national and provincial rates at 4,993 incidents per 100,000 population. 

Property crimes accounted for the majority of crimes - for Nova Scotia 2,868 offences per 100,000 population in 2017. Property crimes accounted for 57 per cent of total Criminal Code violations (excluding traffic) while violent crimes accounted for 25 per cent. Among the provinces, property crime rates were lowest in Quebec and Ontario and highest in Saskatchewan. Violent crime rates were lowest in Ontario and Prince Edward Island and highest in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Canada's crime rate (Criminal Code, excluding traffic) increased by 1.1 per cent 2017. This is the third consecutive year of increasing crime rates for Canada, following declining rates for the 11 years before 2015.  In 2017, the national crime rate was similar to the level observed in 2013.  Among provinces, crime rates are down in Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

Nova Scotia's crime rate increased 3.0 per cent with a 6.7 per cent increase in Halifax.  This increase follows six consecutive years of decline for crime rates observed for the province and Halifax. The province's total, violent, property, and traffic violations (Criminal Code) were up in 2017 while drug crime rates are down. In Halifax, crime rates for total, violent, property, traffic (Criminal Code) and drug violations are up in 2017. 

In Nova Scotia in 2017, there were 12.06 Youth Criminal Justice Act violations per 100,000 population. In Halifax, that number was 10.66. Note that youth crime more broadly can include offenses beyond the Youth Criminal Justice Act.  The youth crime rate (youth charged per 100,000 population aged 12 to 17) was 1,920 in Nova Scotia in 2017.  In Halifax, the rate was 1,900.  Nationally, the youth crime rate was 1,653.  The highest rate was in Saskatchewan and the lowest was in British Columbia.

The overall severity of crime, as measured by the Total Crime Severity Index (CSI) increased for Nova Scotia (+6.3 per cent) and Halifax (+4.4 per cent) in 2017.  Nationally, the Total CSI increased 1.6 per cent in 2017.  Higher numbers of sexual assaults (level 1) were a contributing factor to the increased CSI in several provinces, including Nova Scotia.  There were large increases in reported sexual assaults (including founded and unfounded) after #metoo went viral in October 2017.  The severity of violent crime increased in Nova Scotia (+10.7 per cent) and Halifax (+8.5 per cent). Non-violent Crime Severity also increased provincially (+4.5 per cent) and for Halifax (+2.3 per cent).  

Source: Statistics Canada, Tables 35-10-0177-01 and 35-10-0026-01