National Sexual Assault Rate Highest Since 1996, Violent Crimes Up: Statistics Canada | TBEN News

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The number of police-reported sexual assaults in Canada has reached its highest level since 1996, according to Statistics Canada data released Tuesday.

There were more than 34,200 reports of sexual assault across the country in 2021, an 18 percent increase from 2020, according to the newly released figures.

Although the number of reports decreased in 2020, the number of sexual assaults has steadily increased over five years.

Despite an increase in public discussion of sexual assault issues, Statistics Canada said the number of sexual assaults reported to the police is likely still a significant underestimate.

The agency cited data showing that in 2019, only six percent of incidents of sexual assault committed by Canadians aged 15 and older had been reported to the police in the previous year.

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Overall violent crime is on the rise

Sexual assaults account for one-third of a total five percent increase in reports of violent crime, which also includes homicides, criminal harassment, hate crimes and firearms offenses

In 2021, police reported 788 homicides, 29 more than in 2020, a three percent increase nationwide.

Ontario and British Columbia both saw more homicides than last year, while there were fewer in Alberta and Nova Scotia, which saw a mass shooting in 2020. Provincial homicide rates were highest in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Although fewer Indigenous homicide victims were reported in 2021, the homicide rate for Indigenous people was still nearly six times higher than the non-Indigenous population, according to Statistics Canada.

Criminal harassment is up 10 percent in 2021 compared to 2020; the non-consensual distribution of intimate images increased by eight percent; indecent or intimidating communication increased by four percent; making threats increased by three percent.

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Hate crimes are on the rise

Statistics show that hate crimes rose 27 percent between 2020 and 2021, after a 36 percent increase the year before, with crimes targeting religion and sexual orientation showing the most dramatic increase.

Both violent and non-violent firearms crimes were more common last year than the year before, with violent gun crimes increasing by four percent and police-reported rates of “deliberately setting off a firearm” by eight percent.

For the first time since 2006, violent crime and non-violent crime generally show opposite directions.

Non-violent crime is down three percent across the board, with lower burglaries and thefts below $5,000.

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Nationally, the number of burglaries fell by 10 percent, down nearly 40 percent in the past decade, although more than 125,500 incidents were still reported. Thefts under $5,000 fell four percent after a 19 percent drop last year.

Theft, categorized as a violent crime, also fell by five percent in 2021, after falling 18 percent in 2020.

Statistics Canada quoted the Public Health Agency of Canada as saying that the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the public health crisis of opioid deaths and hospitalizations.

Unsurprisingly, opioid-related crimes, including possession, trade, manufacture, and import or export of opioids, rose by 13 percent in 2021.

Provincially, the highest rates of opioid offenses were reported in BC, while Lethbridge, Alta., and Kelowna, BC, had the highest rates among the country’s census metropolitan areas.

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