Crime in Hamilton decreased in 2012 and is on a downward trend when averaged over the past five years, stats from Hamilton Police Service show.

A report presented to the police services board Tuesday shows decreases in most major types of crime. Using a five-year average, the report shows fewer homicides, robberies, assaults, break-and-enters and thefts, as well as decreases in other major areas.

"The general trends are going in the right direction, which is down," Chief Glenn De Caire said after the meeting. "We've been able to reverse some of the trends."

Violent crime increased throughout 2010 and 2011, he said, but in 2012 that was reversed.

Property crime — break-ins at homes, vehicle thefts, and fraud — was also the lowest in 10 years.

Police are still watching the stats carefully, De Caire said, because "the spikes in each year and each category can cause us some real concerns."

Some notable figures from the report:

  • Hamilton had seven homicides in 2012, up from five in 2011. But a five-year average shows a 13-per-cent decrease.
  • Attempted murder has increased by 75 per cent over the five-year average, with eight in 2011 and seven in 2012. In 2009, there were only two.
  • Sexual offences increased one per cent using a five-year average, although they decreased from 2011 to 2012. In 2012, there were 427 compared to 462 the year before.
  • Assaults have decreased by 0.5 per cent over the five-year average, and year-over-year for the past two years. In 2011 there were 3,834. In 2012 there were 3,482.

Street muggings and purse snatching were down 11 per cent in 2012, but robberies of financial institutions and businesses increased. The most frequently targeted businesses are variety stores and gas bars.