Hamilton fourth in Canada for gun crime

Hamilton ranked fourth in the country for gun-related crime in 2012, shows new data from Statistics Canada.
This gun collection was taken from the home of a Canadian Forces soldier in Ancaster in January. (Courtesy Hamilton police)

Hamilton ranked fourth in the country for gun-related crime in 2012, shows new data from Statistics Canada.

The Hamilton census metropolitan area, which includes Burlington and Grimsby, ranked behind Halifax, Moncton and Saskatoon in relation to violent crime involving firearms. The city had 33 firearm-related crimes per 100,000 people compared to the highest rate, which was 41 in Halifax.

Only about two per cent of violent crime in Canada involved firearms, the report shows. And the rate of firearm-related violent crimes are decreasing faster than other crimes, although gun-related homicides increased slightly, from 158 in 2011 to 172 in 2012.

The highest number of violent crimes involving guns were attempted murders, followed by homicides and robberies.

Canada ranks well below the U.S. in terms of gun-related homicide, with 172 people killed in 2012 compared to 8,813 in the U.S.

Hamilton Police Services presented year-end crime statistics at a police services board meeting Tuesday.

Here were some noteworthy highlights:

Murder rate is up

Homicides have seen a 62.5-per cent jump over the last five years, the report shows. In 2013, there were 13 homicides compared to seven the year before. But police are also solving more of them — the clearance rate has improved over the last three years, with officers solving 13 homicides in 2013.

Sexual offences against children have increased

Sexual offences in general increased in 2013, to 410, up from 392 the year before. And  a higher percentage of them are against children. Police investigated 36 sexual offences against children in 2013, and only 28 the year before. More troubling, Chief Glenn De Caire said, is that they tend to be under reported, so the statistics likely don’t tell the whole story.

Fewer robberies

Robberies are decreasing in Hamilton, with police investigating 407 in 2013 compared to 495 the year before. Robberies have been trending downward since 2009, when there were 683. The bulk of robberies are street robberies.

Most car thefts aren’t solved

Vehicle thefts trended downward in 2013, with 1,748 compared to 2,248 the year before. But only 84 were cleared in 2013, which is a clearance rate of 4.81 per cent. Police charged 28 adults last year, and dealt with 22 youth, not all of whom were charged. Vehicle thefts have trended upward the last five years, with a 114.3-per cent increase since 2009.


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