5. Indicators based on crime data (Statistics Canada)

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  • Health region level data are not available for the crime–related indicators.
  • Data on crime incidents that come to the attention of the police are captured and forwarded to the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS) via the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Survey according to a nationally–approved set of common scoring rules, categories and definitions. The survey has been in operation since 1962 and has full national coverage.
  • The UCR is a summary or aggregate–based survey that records the number of criminal incidents reported to the police. The survey does not gather information on the victims, but does collect information on the number of persons charged by sex and by an adult/youth breakdown. For all violent crimes (except robbery), a separate incident is counted for each victim. For non–violent crimes, one incident is counted for each distinct occurrence. Incidents that involve more than one infraction are counted under the most serious violation. As a result, less serious offences are under-represented by the UCR survey.
  • The aggregate UCR survey scores violent incidents (except robbery) differently from other types of crime. For violent crime, a separate incident is recorded for each victim (that is, if one person assaults three people, then three incidents are recorded; but if three people assault one person, only one incident is recorded). Robbery, however, is counted as if it were a non-violent crime in order to avoid inflating the number of victims (for example, for a bank robbery, counting everyone present in the bank would result in an over–counting of robbery incidents).
  • The aggregate UCR Survey records the total number of youths (aged 12 to 17) and adults (aged 18 and over) charged. When a person is charged with more than one offence, they are counted only once, under the most serious offence. The most serious offence is generally the offence that carries the longest maximum sentence under the Criminal Code of Canada. Violent offences always take precedence over non-violent offences.
  • The comparison between youth and adult crime rates poses some difficulties. The entire youth population represents a high–risk group for becoming involved in criminal activity. By contrast, the level of risk among adults is not consistent across the entire age group. Almost half of the adult population is 45 years and older; this age group is affected by fewer risk factors and as a result, is rarely involved in crime. A more direct comparison would look at youths and young adults. Unfortunately, data are not currently available to make this comparison.
  • With UCR charge data it is possible for someone to be charged (and counted) more than once in a year. As a result, it is likely that the actual number of persons charged is less than the figure reported for a given time period.
  • Rates are calculated on the basis of 100,000 population.

For more information go to UCR.