Discussion Group 18, week 12
Miranda Dunsmuir (070988)
Authored by: Miranda Dunsmuir
Authored on: Apr 4, 2013 8:26 PM
Subject: Declining Homicide Rates in Canada
The homicide rates in Canada have been steadily dropping over the past decades, namely, a trend has been noted since the 1990‘s. Although there is a rapidly fluctuating population that can sometimes alter homicide statistics, an overall trend has been significantly noted.There have been various reasons suggested for why these rates are steadily dropping. I will start this post by giving a few statistics on the declining homicide rate.
-the number of homicides decreased 65.3% between 1991 and 2004;
-Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics has showed that the crime rate in 2011 was at its lowest point in 39 years;
-compared to other violent crimes, homicide only accounts for less than 1%;
-homicides occur in the most densely populated areas;
-the eastern provinces have the lowest violent crime rates while the western province have the highest rates.
There are many reasons that have been documented to account for this change. A very controversial explanation has to do with the changing gun legislation laws. It is now illegal to carry a concealed weapon, there is a strengthening in background checks, and other limitations have also been put in place. Most homicides are committed with a handgun, so with the access becoming more limited it makes sense that we would see a decrease in their usage. Looking at Level-pulling strategies in Boston that targeted a small portion of the population that was found to be committing a majority of crimes, the stricter gun laws and penalties resulted in a decrease in homicide. These results can be applied to the wider population.
There are also many economic factors that have helped reduce the violence in Canada. In the past, there has been clear patterns that have linked low unemployment to higher occurrences of homicide. Using a strain-based approach, it has been speculated that when work is hard to find, individuals will turn to crime in order to satisfy their monetary needs. Canada has a very high unemployment rate throughout the 80‘s, a statistic that can be linked to higher rates of violence and crime. With newer unemployment programs, welfare programs, and higher levels of education being obtained by the younger generations, we can see that there has been a decrease in homicide rates.
A significant finding in the past decade has been that the rate of domestic violence is steeply decreasing. The text mentions a relation between a rise in women’s crime, and a decrease in male crime after the women’s movement. The frequency of women ending up behind bars has actually risen 34%. Regardless of this fact, domestic violence and intimate partner homicides have decreased. More women have become empowered- leaving their homes for work and participating in more traditionally male-dominated activities. Without the reliance on a man, women are able to leave abusive relationships more easily. Another thing to note is that many programs have been implemented to give women a place to go and a support system to lean on when they are in abusive relationships. Changing legislation has also put a new emphasis on domestic abuse.
From a demographic perspective, Canada is seeing the bulk of their population age. This means that the crime-prone age group (teenagers and young adults) is becoming smaller, thus decreasing the number of violent crimes. In the Ouimet reading, statistics showed that the number of young adults and teenagers peaked and dropped in the 1980s. This could explain the higher crime rates during this time. We need to target certain age groups in order to prevent our homicide rates from rising again. Intervention programs have been implemented to teach...