Patterns of Crime in Canadian Cities :  A Multivariate Statistical Analysis

Executive Summary

The following study used multivariate statistical techniques to analyze offence specific crime rates reported by the police in the aggregate Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR1). The objective was to summarize the large amount of data on offences reported by the police in 1999 to the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada into generalized patterns of crime. The results show that the statistical analysis was successful in representing the crime patterns of 600 cities across Canada by four crime indices for each city. Such information could be used to pinpoint crime problems for individual cities and would be helpful in assisting local criminal justice agencies to develop crime control and prevention strategies for their specific areas.

In addition, cities were grouped by two classification schemes of geographical regions and city size classes. Statistical techniques were used to show that both classification schemes were moderately successful. Typical crime patterns for different geographical regions and for different city size classes were then described. Some results confirmed popular perceptions. For example, moral offences increase with city sizes and are most serious in large cities. However, the analysis also revealed some surprising results. For example, violent crime rates are higher in the Atlantic and Prairie provinces than in other regions; violent crime rates are also higher in small towns than in larger cities.

Results in this analysis provide useful information in assisting the design of crime prevention programs. First, the delineation of the crime patterns of individual cities will pinpoint the predominant crime problems which can then be targetted with crime prevention programs. Second, the development of regional and city size crime profiles points to a better way of selecting or adopting successful crime prevention programs from other cities.

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