Calgary Crime Stats Out of Step with Canada

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Statistics Canada has issued its [latest report on Canadian criminal offences](http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/140723/dq140723b-eng.htm?HPA), and the news is generally good—crime is down almost everywhere and by almost every measure.

The picture isn't quite so crystal clear when it comes to criminality in Calgary, however.

Though overall criminal offences are down in the City of Calgary, violent crimes are on the rise. Criminal offences of all types, violent and otherwise, are on a significant downward trend throughout Canada as a whole and in most of our nation's metropolitan areas, but Calgary has started experiencing more than its fair share of violent crimes.

The Police-reported Crime Severity Index, which is used to assess both the volume (i.e. quantity) of crime and the severity of the criminal offences observed in a given location, places Calgary towards the middle of the pack compared to other major metropolitan areas throughout Canada. If the rate of violent criminal offences in Calgary had dropped in tandem with the drop in the overall crime rate in the city and in Canada at large, however, Calgary's ranking by the Crime Severity Index would have been considerably lower.

Statistics Canada's report does not provide insight into the possible reasons behind the observed increase in violent crimes in Calgary, nor in the drop in overall criminal offence rates observed in Calgary and Canada at large. Criminal defence lawyers and other criminal justice scholars in Calgary are hesitant to speculate on the issue due to its complexity and uncertainty.

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