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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.[1] The annual youth crime rate fluctuated around 7500-8000 per 100,000 youth during 2004-2007 and then decreased substantially

Trends in police-reported youth crime rates in Canada, 2004-2014. Note

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[2] 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 %

Trends in the nature of police-reported youth crime in Canada, 2004-2014. Note

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.

  • [1] In the UCR Survey, a “chargeable” person is defined as “person who has been identified as anaccused person in an incident and against whom a charge may be laid in connection with that incident” (Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics 2013: 14)—whether or not that person was actuallyarrested or charged.
  • [2] “Other” crime in the UCR Survey includes weapons possession and storage, prostitution, gambling,other public orders, administration of justice, serious traffic, drug-related, and miscellaneous offenses.
 
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