Toronto is a relatively safe city when compared to other cities in the world. In 2017, The Economist ranked Toronto as the 24th safest city globally and safer than major cities in North America. In the first quarter of 2021, the crime rate in Canada went down by 20% compared to the first quarter of the previous year.
This article discusses the crime rates in Toronto, covering various types of crimes, such as gang-related, violent and homicide. We will also compare the crime rate in Toronto with other renowned cities such as New York and dig deeper into specific Toronto neighbourhoods.
Police-Reported Violent Crime Rate in Toronto
Violent crime is the use or threat of violence against an individual, including homicide, attempted homicide, assault, harassment, among others. Unfortunately, police-reported data is not always accurate because some victims don’t report violent crimes to authorities.
The proportion of violent crime in Toronto varies by sex. According to a 2017 study, males are 70% more likely to be victims of violent crime than females.
Also, the vast majority of violent crimes committed in Toronto do not involve firearms or knives. Instead, most police-reported crimes involve physical fights or crude weapons such as clubs, blunt objects, rope/strangulation, burning liquid, or other little-known weapons.
Homicide Rates in Toronto
Homicide is a crime involving murder, infanticide, and non-negligent manslaughter. As of August 24, 2021, the Toronto Police Service had 15 unsolved homicide cases alone in 2021, and all victims were male.
Gang-Related Violent Crimes
The criteria for labelling violent crimes as gang-related varies depending on the jurisdiction that has been a subject of debate over the years.
Currently, a violent crime is classified as gang-related if the police confirm that the accused is either a member of an organized crime group or street gang. However, victims of gang-related violence may include innocent bystanders, making it difficult to distinguish the connection between the victim and the gang.
In Toronto, less than 30% of all homicides are most likely to be gang-related. According to recent studies, more than 90% of gang-related victims were male, and less than 10% were females.
In terms of age group, most victims of gang-related violence fall between the age of 18 to 34. Also, individuals accused of being part of an organized crime group involved in violent crimes were most likely to be between 18 to 24 years of age.
Gun Violence in Toronto
Gun violence or firearm-related violent crime includes crime committed with semi-automatic guns, revolvers, fully automatic firearms, rifles, shotguns, pistols, and other firearm-like weapons. There have been few instances of gun violence in the first quarter of 2021 as compared to the same period last year.
Toronto neighbourhoods such as Lawrence Heights, Rexdale, and Jane and Finch are experiencing a decrease in gun violence. There have also been few instances of gun violence in relatively safe neighbourhoods such as Kensington Market, University of Toronto, and Richmond Hill.
According to the Toronto Police Analytics, there’s been a 35% decrease in shooting and firearm discharge incidents between 2020 and 2021. Also, the number of people killed by firearms has reduced by 30%.
Less than 40% of all homicides in Toronto involved a firearm. Even so, Toronto still has the third-highest rate of firearm-related murders after Edmonton and Winnipeg.
Crime Injury Rates in Toronto
It is difficult to accurately capture data concerning crime injury rates because of several factors such as:
● Not all victims of violent crime seek medical care.
● Not all medical providers screen for violence.
● Some victims of violent crime do not feel safe disclosing such information.
● Not all assault-related injuries are recorded.
● It is also difficult to identify the connection between perpetrators and victims.
More than 70% of all crime-related injuries occurred among males. Similar to the results for all crimes, more than 90% of all firearm-related injuries occurred among males. Concerning age groups, crime injury rates were higher for males between 15 to 24 years.
Crime Rates Based on Neighbourhood Socioeconomic Status
Canada’s crime rate varies by neighbourhood socioeconomic status. The crime rate is usually measured in terms of:
● Quality of housing
● Quality of education
● Family structures
● Neighbourhood income
Toronto neighbourhoods with the lowest income had the highest rates of crimes compared to areas with the lowest material deprivation. This data means that residents living in low-income communities were more likely to experience crime than those living in high-income neighbourhoods.
Toronto Crime Rate by Neighborhood
The rate of crime and violence varies from one neighbourhood to another in Toronto. Below is a list of neighbourhoods with some of the highest crime rates in Toronto:
Located next to the University of Toronto’s St. George Campus, The Annex has one of Toronto’s highest crime property indices. The average crime property rate stands at 23.75 against 1000 properties, while crime against individuals stands at an average rate of 8.16 per 1000 people.
Located in the east of Queen Street, this neighbourhood has an almost equal crime rate for crime against individuals and property. Both crime rates stand at 7.8 per 1000 people or properties.
Moss Park neighbourhood has one of the highest Toronto crime rates. The average violent crime rate is 20.81 per 1000 individuals, while property crime stands at 45.94 per 1000 properties.
St. James Town
St. James Town is one of the low-income neighbourhoods in Toronto. The average crime rate in the area is 10.44 per 1000 people, while property crime stands at 24.97 per 1000 properties.
Regent Park is located in downtown Toronto. This neighbourhood also has one of the highest crime rates in Canada. The average crime rate in the area is 12.99 per 1000 people, while property crime stands at 22.39 per 1000 properties.
How Many Murders in Canada per year?
According to Statcan, the number of people killed in Canada per year since 2016 is as follows:
● 2020 – 743 people (105 victims in Toronto)
● 2019 – 687 people (130 victims in Toronto)
● 2018 – 660 people (145 victims in Toronto)
● 2017 – 667 people (93 victims in Toronto)
● 2016 – 616 people (96 victims in Toronto)