Crime rose slightly in Canada in 2018, particularly because of the rise in the number of sexual assault and fraud cases, but also cybercrime.
For example, police agencies across the country opened as many as 2,033,925 investigations after reporting crimes, a rate of 5,488 crimes per 100,000 population, according to Statistics Canada data released on Monday.
This number increased by 2% between 2017 and 2018, but remains 17% below that of 2008, a sign that crime has decreased in a decade.
The latest statistics confirm that cybercrime is a steadily rising phenomenon in the country.
Cases of extortion (4664 cases, + 44%), fraud (129,409 cases, + 13%), identity theft (3,745 cases, + 12%) and identity fraud (15,839, + 9%) have all experienced strong growth.
The immense theft of personal data at Desjardins is an example: the protection of our information becomes essential.
Cybercrime has cost the world $ 45 billion in 2018. Several countries are now strengthening their law to punish cybercriminals more severely.
Companies are also held responsible. British Airways has been fined $ 300 million for compromising the data of half a million of its members. In the United States, Equifax was fined $ 700 million. At home, Desjardins now faces a symbolic fine of tens of thousands of dollars for the leak of personal data of nearly three million members.
The rise in the crime rate is partly due to the increase in the number of reports of Level 1 sexual assaults, in the wake of the #MoiAussi movement. At the same time, the number of complaints deemed "unfounded" for this type of crime is decreasing. For example, 28,124 cases for simple sexual assault – defined as unintentional sexual contact, ranging from touching to a full relationship – were opened in 2018, up 15%. The number of reports of sexual assault with a weapon also jumped by 7%.
The number of motorists pinned for driving while impaired by drugs also increased by a staggering 25%, while Canada legalized marijuana in October 2018. Statistics Canada refrained from establishing a direct link with legalization, but argued that "legislative changes" and access to drug testing technologies could explain the phenomenon.
On a more optimistic note, 15 fewer murders were committed in 2018, for a total of 651 homicides. The number of attempted murders has also dropped by 3% between 2017 and 2018.
The number of files opened for kidnapping or abduction, trafficking, child pornography and prostitution has also dropped dramatically.
For its part, Quebec saw a 3% drop in its crime rate between 2017 and 2018.
La Belle Province has by far the lowest crime rate in the country, with an average of 3304 crimes per 100,000 population, well below the Canadian average of 5,488 crimes per 100,000 population. Ontario, ranked 2nd, has a rate of 4,113 criminal records per 100,000 population.
The phenomenon was also observed in all the metropolitan areas analyzed by Statistics Canada in Quebec, with, among other things, reductions of -3% in Quebec City and -4% in Montreal.