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Friday, December 12, 2008

Police personnel and expenditures grow, crime solving performance flat: StatsCan

According to Statistics Canada data released today, Canada had just over 65,000 police officers as of May 15, 2008. Following a period of general decline throughout the 1990s, police strength has generally increased over the past decade. At 196 officers per 100,000 population, the 2008 rate was 1% higher than in 2007 and 8% higher than a decade earlier.

Over the past 10 years, all provinces recorded increases in their police strength, with the largest being in Newfoundland and Labrador (+21%) and Nova Scotia (+17%).

Saskatchewan and Manitoba reported the highest rate of police officer strength in 2008 while Alberta and Prince Edward Island had the lowest.

Since 1998, all 27 census metropolitan areas, except for Victoria, recorded increases in police strength. The largest gains were reported in Sherbrooke (+26%) and St. Catharines–Niagara (+23%).

In 2008, Thunder Bay had the most police per 100,000 population, followed by Saint John and Regina.

Among the nine largest metropolitan areas, rates of police strength were highest in Montréal and Winnipeg.

The number of female officers increased at a faster pace than their male counterparts, continuing a trend that began in the mid-1970s. Canada had just over 12,200 female officers in 2008, up 3% from the previous year. The number of male officers increased 2%.

Women accounted for almost 1 in every 5 officers in 2008, compared with about 1 in 8 a decade earlier.

The per-capita increase in police personnel has done little, however, to improve crime solving performance. In 2007, police solved 37% of crimes reported to them, compared with 35% a decade ago.

After adjusting for inflation, police expenditures rose for the 11th consecutive year, reaching $10.5 billon in 2007, or $320 for every Canadian. To put this security cost in perspective, private alarm companies charge between $120 - $360 per year after a one-time charge for installation.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on December 12, 2008 in Crime | Permalink


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How many of the new hires are full-time paper-pushers? The paperwork that the average policemen has to complete these days leaves very little time to actually do real police-work.

And the toys that even small town forces have managed to get are ridiculous. Police Chiefs and Police Commissions obviously spend too much time watching US cop shows, and perusing the catalogues of the "security" industry. The latter has a gravy train of incredible strength going, but then, a credulous media has scared people into thinking we are under siege by criminals.

Common-sense policing means visible patrols: on foot in downtowns and in slow-moving cars in the suburbs. Common-sense policing means an end to social-worker-run courts, and real punishments for wrongdoing.

Posted by: Patrick B | 2008-12-12 9:44:15 AM

I would add how many of the new hires are affirmative action (now often called employment equity) appointments. While just about everyone would agree that fully qualified applicants should not be discriminated against due to their race or sex, this is not how it works. In order to meet their affirmative action targets, qualifications and requirements (especially physical ability and strength) are lower for such target groups, especially women. Sad but true as I have more than once witnessed personally.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-12-12 11:55:13 AM

End the drug war and you end gun violence and organized crime. Then the establishment would be forced to shrink. We can't have that can we?

Posted by: Duder | 2008-12-12 6:04:41 PM

Settle down, Duder, and stop sprinkling those joints with crystal meth. Street violence, in the form of turf wars and gunplay between criminals and cops and violent muggings, existed long before the drug scene emerged in the 1960s. But of course, like any good progressive, you simply ignore everything that happened before 1968.

I have yet to see a single pro-pot advocate explain how ending the "drug war" in Canada could possibly work without also ending it in the States (at a minimum), and I very much doubt you will be the first. Oh, and they're cracking down on drugs and sex shops in Amsterdam, too. Guess the Dutch have decided the experiment failed to live up to the promise.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-12-13 3:03:06 PM

Perhaps the cops would be more motivated to go the extra mile to capture more crooks if they had any assurance--any at all--that the courts would actually punish them for a change. As things are, sentences are so laughable that many non-violent crimes are simply not considered worth the trouble to prosecute, given the minimal punishments that would ensue in the event of a conviction.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-12-13 3:04:18 PM

Are sentences shorter than they were a decade ago, Shane? That would be interesting data.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2008-12-13 3:10:30 PM

Its simply a severely screwed up value system in the courts which has been caused by the Liberal Party patronage appointment system.

People are killing people today and getting community service sentences, while western Canadian farmers selling their own grain are thrown in jail.

It doesn't get any simpler that to show what a total farce the justice system has become.

I wonder if Harvard can grasp it and will help fix it?

Posted by: Rocky Thompson | 2008-12-14 4:08:37 PM

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