(Black Press Media files)

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

Police-reported sexual assaults and general crime were on the rise in 2018, but crime rates overall remained lower than they were a decade ago, figures released by Statistics Canada show.

In data released Monday, the agency found that police-reported crime went up by two per cent in 2018, but was still 17 per cent lower than it was a decade ago.

Statistics Canada measures crime in the country using the Crime Severity Index (CSI), which takes both the number of crimes and their severity into account.

The increase in the CSI for 2018 was the result of higher rates of police-reported sexual assault, shoplifting $5,000 or less and theft over $5,000.

In general, rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row, “corresponding in timing to the growing public discussion of issues around sexual violence,” including the #MeToo movement, the agency said.

Sexual assaults committed without a weapon or serious bodily harm went up by 15 per cent from 2017 to 2018. In total, the rate of those sexual assault went up by 20 per cent from 2008 to 2018.

Extortion cases went up by 44 per cent between 2017 and 2018.

Authorities said the spike in extortion could be attributed to digital or electronic scams, as well as sextortion, in which victims are told to give money or sexual favours to prevent naked images or sexual activity from being leaked. Extortion rates have gone up every year since 2012.

Homicide rates went down by four per cent to 651 cases in 2018, although statistics remained higher than average for the previous decade.

Homicide disproportionally affected Indigenous people, who make up just five per cent of the population but are 22 per cent of those killed.

Across Canada, drug-impaired driving rates went up by 25 per cent in the past year, while alcohol-impaired driving rates went down by one per cent.

Cannabis-linked drug offence decreased in 2018, data shows, including for possession, trafficking and producing the drug.

Although Statistics Canada noted that legalization in October 2018 likely contributed to that drop, it found that cannabis offences went down even in the 9.5 months of 2018 prior to legalization.

However, methamphetamine-related crimes went up 13 per cent in 2018, continuing a trend that has been on the rise since 2008. Possession crimes went up by 10 per cent, while production, trafficking and importing meth went up by 23 per cent.

Although health officials have been optimistic as the rate of illicit drug overdoses starts to trend down in 2019, 2018 saw British Columbia have the highest rate of opioid-related offences in the country.

Within B.C., Kelowna, Abbotsford-Mission and Greater Vancouver had the highest rates of opioid-related crime.

ALSO READ: ‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

ALSO READ: Jobs move outwards from city core, public transit use rises: Stats Canada

ALSO READ: Legal pot price as much as 80 per cent more than illicit: Stats Canada


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

RCMP makes arrests in significant Bashaw area theft cases

Suspects caught due in large part to wonderful public assistance, reporting

Smash and grab at Bashaw Sports

Police looking to identify suspects in brazen early morning theft

BRSD trying to deal with loss of $1.6 million in funding

Level of cuts, savings will be determined later this month

Two robberies lead to pursuit and the arrest of three south of Leduc

Maskwacis, Wetaskiwin and Leduc RCMP apprehend three suspects in bizarre crime spree

VIDEO: Merriam-Webster declares ‘they’ its 2019 word of the year

Declared word of year based on a 313-per-cent increase in look-ups on the company’s search site

Thunberg ‘a bit surprised’ to be Time ‘Person of the Year’

‘I could never have imagined anything like that happening,’ she said in a phone interview

Toronto Raptors, Don Cherry top the list of Canadians’ Google searches in 2019

‘Champions’ was the theme of the last year, Google said

Day parole revoked for man who strangled wife, buried body in their Calgary home

Parole Board revoked Allan Shyback’s day parole after he had sex with a massage parlour worker

Alberta plans to reduce surgery wait-times by building operating rooms, using private clinics

Health minister says goal is to have 80,000 more surgeries done over the next 3 1/2 years

Sylvan Lake woman charged with fraud over $500,000

Rimbey RCMP launched an investigation in July 2019 with the suspect turning herself in on Aug. 30

VIDEO: Calgary man narrowly escapes from avalanche while running at Lake Louise

Bryon Howard caught the entire wild experience on camera

Alberta RCMP remind drivers to not leave vehicle idling and unoccupied

RCMP have estimated about 33 per cent of all vehicle thefts occurred while the vehicle was idling

No jail but big fine for Alberta store owner convicted of illegal gun sales

At the conclusion of Monday’s hearing, the Crown stayed the remainder of the charges against the father

Most Read