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Monday, July 23, 2012

Toronto crime, relatively illustrated

"A picture is worth a thousand words." Below are some pictures of crime statistics - tell me what you see.

Below is a graph of select North American city homicide rates (2008 stats courtesy the Government of Ontario).

Here's the table of numbers for the above graph:

Below is from The Economist, looking at the change in murder rate over ten years from 2000 to 2010 among some of America's most murderous cities (note these are all above 20 murders per 100,000 - they are all at least 10x the murder rate of Toronto):

Here's a 2007 graph showing Ontario with the lowest provincial crime rate:

How many times has Toronto lead Canada as the murder capital since 1981, over 30 years ago? How about 0. Runner up? Again, nil. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Note also that the current murder capital Regina, isn't even on this list, so there's a whole lot more action going on this country than might be found in Toronto.

And, here's one more for this article. BC Progress Board looked across the spectrum of violent crime statistics for 2008 including murder as well as assault and property crimes, and ranks Toronto #1 among 17 cities in North America:

The stats all point to one reasonable conclusion - Toronto is a safe big city.

Compare these statistical facts with all the right wing rhetoric and ask yourself, is all this fear-mongering justified? It's not as though these stats are hiding and hard to find, and I strongly believe our leaders should be conversant with Toronto's socioeconomic profile.

Is it possible I've cherry-picked convenient stats? Test them - do your own search for crime data and see what you come up with. Obviously, whatever information published as a matter of political information is on the record, so it's not as though there are going to be grossly variant representations, but knock yourself out, see if your results accumulate stats that paint a different picture of Toronto's relative crime profile.

I would love to see what stats could possibly prevail to support the right wing rhetoric (which is why all the fear-mongering tends to be woefully bereft of statistics that have a wider perspective than "the last few days").

In any populous region, there is going to be crime. Toronto has exponentially less crime than most every other comparably sized city. Period. To suggest otherwise is misinformation and propaganda and, in light of these facts, it's time we ask our leaders to explain why these facts are being trampled by sensationalism, rhetoric and fear-mongering, and why they themselves are not citing these facts whenever they address the public.

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