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TRENDS IN JUVENILE CRIME OVER THE PERIOD 2004-2014
There are two sources of data on trends over time in youth crime in Canada. The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Survey is an annual census of police-reported crime and apprehended (alleged) offenders of all ages (Statistics Canada 2015a). The General Social Survey on Victimization is a module of Statistics Canada’s General Social Survey that captures data on Canadians’ personal and household victimization experiences. It is administered every 5-6 years to a representative sample of Canadians aged 15 or older (Perrault 2015).
Figure 5.1 shows the recent trend in the per capita rates of police-reported chargeable youth in Canada. The annual youth crime rate fluctuated around 7500-8000 per 100,000 youth during 2004-2007 and then decreased substantially
Figure 5.1. Trends in police-reported youth crime rates in Canada, 2004-2014. Note: Prepared by the authors using data from CANSIM Table 252-0051 (Statistics Canada 2015b).
through 2014. The youth crime rate in 2014 was 4934 per 100,000, which is 62 % of the rate in 2004 (8006). The rates of violent, property, and other youth crime all decreased over the period but to differing degrees. The property crime rate in 2014 (1904 per 100,000) was 49 %> of the rate in 2004 (3858). The violent and other youth crime rates in 2014 were, respectively, 66 %> and 79 %> of the rates in 2004. In 2004, property crime constituted approximately 50 %> of all police- reported youth crime; by 2014, this proportion had declined to 39 %> (Fig. 5.2). Meanwhile, other crimes (principally drug offenses) increased from 28 %> to 36 % of police-reported youth crime. The proportion of violent crime increased slightly from 24 % in 2004 to 26 % in 2014. More detailed analyses have found that the overall seriousness of police-reported youth crime decreased from 1986 to 2011 (Carrington 2013, 2015a) and has continued to decrease since then.
According to Perrault (2015: 5), the overall rate of violent victimizations in Canada in 2014, by perpetrators of all ages, was 72 % of the 2004 rate. The proportion of violent victimizations in which the perpetrator was identified as a young person decreased slightly from 13 % in 2004 (Gannon & Mihorean 2005: 10) to 12 % in 2014 (Perrault 2015: 37): that is, the proportion in 2014 was 92 %
Figure 5.2. Trends in the nature of police-reported youth crime in Canada, 2004-2014. Note: Prepared by the authors using data from CANSIM Table 252-0051 (Statistics Canada 2015b).
(12/13) of that in 2004. Thus, the rate of violent victimizations perpetrated by young persons in 2014 was approximately 66 % (72 % x 92 %) of the rate in 2004. The analysis of UCR data (above) also concluded that the 2014 per capita rate of violent youth crime was 66 % of the 2004 rate. It is not possible to use the victimization data to corroborate the findings for property and other crimes committed specifically by youth, but Perrault (2015: 7) does note that the rate of property- related victimizations by perpetrators of all ages reported in the Victimization Survey decreased from 2004 to 2014 by approximately the same amount as the rate of police-reported property crime. These findings based on victimization data provide some corroboration of the findings on the decline in police-reported youth property crime.
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