Canada's crime rate continued downward trend in 2013

Canada's crime rate fell by eight per cent in 2013 over the previous year, according to police-reported crime numbers released by Statistics Canada, although some offences were reported more frequently, including sexual violations against children.

Crime Severity Index declines for 10th year in a row, but some offences showed dramatic increase

According to Statistics Canada, police reported just over 1.8 million criminal incidents last year — a decline of approximately 132,000 from 2012. (CBC)

Canada's crime rate fell by eight per cent over the previous year in 2013, according to police-reported crime numbers released today by Statistics Canada.

Reports of some offences did go up last year, however, including extortion, child pornography, aggravated sexual assault, sexual violations against children and identity fraud.

"Of the sexual violations against children, luring a child via a computer showed the greatest increase, rising 30 per cent in 2013," the report notes, followed by sexual exploitation, which went up by 11 per cent.

"In contrast, invitation to sexual touching decreased five per cent."

According to the report, police reported just over 1.8 million criminal incidents last year — a decline of approximately 132,000 from 2012.

Not only are the overall numbers lower, but the report reveals the volume and severity are also on a downward slide.

Violent crime down

The Crime Severity Index (CSI) fell by nine per cent in 2013, a drop the report attributes to a similar decline in breaking and entering, and robbery.

"Decreases in some of the less serious but very frequent offences, such as theft of $5,000 or under and mischief, also contributed to the drop," it stated.

The violent CSI fell 10 in 2013 compared with the previous year, says Statistics Canada, marking the seventh consecutive decrease.

Police services reported approximately 384,000 violent incidents last year, down about 32,000 from 2012, mainly resulting from a drop in robberies.

Homicides were also down. Police reported 505 of them in 2013, down 38 from 2012.

Most cities safer, says report

For the first time since the agency began calculating crime severity rates, not a single metropolitan area reported an increase.

"The CSI was unchanged in Edmonton, while it declined in all other CMAs," the report reveals, with the largest decrease being reported by Victoria, which fell by 17 per cent.

Even with a seven per cent drop, Regina still reported the highest CSI of any city, while the Ontario cities of Barrie and Guelph had the lowest.

Most provinces and territories recorded a decrease in the severity of crimes committed, except in Yukon and Newfoundland and Labrador, where they saw slight increases.

Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec and Manitoba recorded the largest declines among the provinces and territories.

With files from The Canadian Press