Canadian crime volume, severity down

July 21, 2009 at 11:56 AM

OTTAWA, July 21 (UPI) -- The volume and severity of crime reported to police in Canada fell by 5 percent in 2008, the fifth consecutive decline, Statistics Canada reported Tuesday.

"There were about 77,000 fewer reported crimes in 2008, including 28,000 fewer thefts of $5,000 and under, 22,000 fewer break-ins and 20,000 fewer motor vehicle thefts," the federal agency said.

There were 3,500 fewer reported incidents of reported violence in 2008, including 2,000 fewer robberies.

Homicides, which make up less than 1 percent of violent crime, were one of the few violent crimes to increase in 2008, up 2 percent to 611 from 594 in 2007, StatsCan said.

Impaired driving charges increased for the second consecutive year in 2008, up 6 percent, while reported drug offenses were stable, around 102,000, the report said.

Police reported more than 200,000 break-ins, of which 60 percent were residential, and about 125,000 stolen vehicles in 2008, down 15 percent from 145,000 in 2007, the agency said.

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