toronto vital signs

Toronto's murder rate reached historic highs last year

Toronto is a wonderful place to live and work for a multitude of reasons, but the city isn't exactly known for its safety. 

Instead, our reputation has been recently plagued by an upsetting surge in gun violence, and the number of murders and attempted murders in the GTA in 2018 was unprecedentedly high. 

That's according to the Toronto Foundation's 17th annual Toronto's Vital Signs report, which was released earlier this week. 

The report features in-depth research on areas including income inequality, housing, education, culture, health, safety and more. 

And unfortunately, not all the findings were uplifting.

In the safety section, the report states that the number of murders in the GTA in 2018 increased by 53 per cent over 2017, and attempted murders saw a 37 per cent increase.

"No other year in the past 20 years had more than 112 murders, while 2018 had 142," the report points out. "This is while the rest of the country saw a decline of four per cent in the homicide rate."

And while these numbers include “the discovery of victims of serial homicides committed over a seven-year period (2010 to 2017), an attack in the North York City Centre business district, where pedestrians were deliberately struck by a van, and a shooting on Danforth Avenue in the city’s Greektown,” the number of murders and attempted murders in 2018 would still be the highest on record had these homicides not been included. 

The report also found that all major crime has increased in the City of Toronto over the last four years.

"All six of the major crime indicators that Toronto Police Service track have experienced considerable increases over the last four years," the report states. 

Between 2015 and 2018, auto thefts increased by 45 per cent, sexual violations by 20 per cent, break and enters by nine per cent, assaults by nine per cent, robbery by two per cent, and murders by 66 per cent.

Thankfully, some of the research wasn't quite so discouraging. 

The report found that, although 2018 saw an unprecedented number of murders, 2019 has shown a decline so far. 

"As of July 15, 2019, the number of homicides is down considerably since the previous year," it states, "with only 33 versus 55 through the same period, and the number of shootings is also down since the prior year (222 through this time in the prior year versus 203 in the current year)."

It also explains that, despite these high numbers, Toronto still has a lower Crime Severity Index score than all other major cities in Canada.

It says that while Toronto’s Crime Severity Index score is 54, the Ottawa/Gatineau area's score is 55, Montreal’s is 58, Vancouver’s is 84, Calgary’s is 88, and Edmonton’s is 115.586.

"Even with the increases in major crimes," the report adds, "Toronto is still a relatively safe place when compared to most urban centres."

Lead photo by

A.pitre


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