Canada's crime rate declines

July 21, 2011 at 12:54 PM

OTTAWA, July 21 (UPI) -- The crime rate in Canada is at its lowest level since 1973, Statistics Canada reported Thursday.

The police reported crime rate continued its downward trend in 2010, falling five percent from 2009, while the Crime Severity Index dropped by six percent, Ottawa-based Statistics Canada reported.

Canada's national crime rate has been declining steadily for the past two decades, the report said.

Excluding traffic, there were about 2.1 million criminal code incidents in Canada last year, about 77,000 less than in 2009. Officials said four types of property crimes accounted for the majority of the decline: theft under $5,000, mischief, motor vehicle thefts and break-ins.

The Crime Severity Index fell across nearly all of Canada, with exceptions in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. The index measures the severity of crimes.

Police reported more than 437,000 violent incidents in 2010, a decrease of more than 7,200 over the previous year. Violent crimes totaled just over 20 percent of the offenses.

Police reported 554 homicides in 2010, 56 fewer than in 2009. The national homicide rate of 1.62 murders per 100,000 population in 2010 was the lowest since 1966.

Officials said the 10 percent decline in the homicide rate from 2009 to 2010 followed a decade of relative stability.

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