Patterns of Crime in Canadian Cities :  A Multivariate Statistical Analysis

Section 5. Crime Profiles for Different Regions


5. Crime Profiles for Different Regions

The second part of the present study involves applying the statistical technique of discriminant analysis to the 4 factor scores for the 600 cities. This analysis will help in classifying cities into groups with similar crime patterns, in other words, developing crime profiles. The grouping can be geographical regions, provinces, city size classes, or any other criteria. The computer analysis will show the numerical relationship among groups, that is, which groups are similar and which groups are different. In addition, the analysis will specify which cities, although initially assigned to one group (for example, a province), are actually closer to another group (a different province) in their crime patterns. For example, the results of the analysis show that Waterloo Region, although located in Ontario, has crime characteristics (in terms of the 4 factor scores) more similar to cities in British Columbia than those in Ontario.

In the present study, the first step in discriminant analysis was to find out whether individual provinces had distinct crime profiles. Thus the 600 cities were assigned into 10 groups representing the 10 provinces. The results from this initial analysis showed that the Atlantic provinces (Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick) and the Prairie provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta) had a similar crime profile while the remaining 3 larger provinces (Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia) had their individual distinct crime profiles.

The next step then was to re-assign the 600 cities into 4 separate geographical regions:

Grouping by Geographical Region
Region 1 – Atlantic/Prairie provinces 219 cities
Region 2 – Quebec 157 cities
Region 3 – Ontario 149 cities
Region 4 – British Columbia 75 cities

Table 4 shows the results of the discriminant analysis based on geographical regions.

  • Out of the 219 cities in the Atlantic/Prairie region (row 1 in the table), 94 cities or 43% had crime patterns similar to the Atlantic/Prairie profile and were classified into their original region; 28 cities or 13% were similar to the Quebec profile; 65 cities or 30% were similar to the the Ontario profile; 32 cities or 15% were similar to the British Columbia profile.
  • Out of the 157 cities in the Quebec region, 82 cities or 52% had crime patterns similar to the Quebec profile and were classified into their original region; 20 cities or 13% were similar to the Atlantic/Prairie profile; 24 cities or 15% were similar to the Ontario profile; 31 cities or 20% were similar to the British Columbia profile.
  • Out of the 149 cities in the Ontario region, 98 cities or 66% had crime patterns similar to the Ontario profile and were classified again into their original region; 16 cities or 11% were similar to the Atlantic/Prairie profile; 19 cities or 13% were similar to the Quebec profile; 16 cities or 11% were similar to the British Columbia profile.
  • Out of the 75 cities in the British Columbia region, 43 cities or 57% had crime patterns similar to the British Columbia profile and were classified again into their original region; 13 cities or 17 were similar to the Atlantic/Prairie profile; 8 cities or 11% were similar to the Quebec profile; 11 cities or 15% were similar to the Ontario profile.
  • Over all, 317 or 53% were classified correctly, that is, classified into their original region. This implies that the regional differences in crime profiles are not very distinct as almost half of the cities have crime patterns similar to cities outside their own regions. A complete list of cities that require reclassification is in Appendix 4.
Table 4. Results of Discriminant Analysis of 4 Geographical Regions
From Region Number and Percent of Cities Classified Into Region
Atl./Prairie Quebec Ontario B.C. TOTAL
Atlantic/Prairie 94 28 65 32 219
43% 13% 30% 15% 100%
Quebec 20 82 24 31 157
13% 52% 15% 20% 100%
Ontario 16 19 98 16 149
11% 13% 66% 11% 100%
British Columbia 13 8 11 43 75
17% 11% 15% 57% 100%
TOTAL 143 137 198 122 600
24% 23% 33% 20% 100%

NOTE: The shaded boxes with bold letters represent the cities classified correctly.

Table 5 shows the representative crime profiles of the 4 geographical regions, in terms of average factor scores of the 4 crime components.

  • Cities in the Atlantic/Prairie region have slightly above average minor crimes as well as violent crimes, slightly below average major property crimes and moral crimes.
  • Cities in the Quebec region have low minor crimes, average violent crimes, slightly above average major property crimes, slight below average moral offences.
  • Cities in the Ontario region have slightly above average minor crimes, slightly below average violent crimes, low major property crimes, high moral offences.
  • Cities in the British Columbia region have high minor crimes, low violent crimes, very high major property crimes, high moral offences.

It should be noted, however, that high level of offences simply means the level is high compared to other Canadian cities and may not mean high absolute level.

Table 5. Average Factor Scores of the 4 Geographical Regions
Region Comp. 1 Comp. 2 Comp. 3 Comp. 4
Minor crimes Violent crimes Major property crimes Moral offences
Atlantic/Prairie 0.09 0.20 -0.07 -0.15
Quebec -0.36 -0.01 0.13 -0.20
Ontario 0.13 -0.10 -0.37 0.28
British Columbia 0.23 -0.35 0.65 0.30

The 53% success rate in classification means that more than half of the cities demonstrate crime patterns similar to their own regional crime profiles. For example, the factor scores and percentiles of Gatineau, Quebec, a suburb of Hull (shown below) resemble the regional crime profile for Quebec. On the other hand, there are cities within the same region that may demonstrate a very different crime pattern. For example, the factor scores of Longueuil, Quebec, a suburb of Montreal resemble more closely to the regional crime profile for British Columbia (see actual crime rates of these cities in Appendix 1).

Crime Patterns of Two Sample Cities in Quebec
Component Gatineau, Qc Longueuil, Qc
Factor Score Percentile Factor Score Percentile
1 Minor crimes -0.16 47 -0.40 21
2 Violent crimes -0.40 34 -0.53 15
3 Major property crimes -0.01 61 1.04 88
4 Moral offences -0.16 48 0.51 83
Crime Profile Quebec British Columbia

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