(October 29, 2012 Update: CBC release of police crime data by type and neighbourhood)
Today, Stats Can released a hot product: a report on crime in Toronto. Even though we are one of the safer metropolitan areas on the continent, Neighbourhood Characteristics and the Distribution of Police-reported Crime in the City of Toronto is sure to draw some attention.
Produced by Mathieu Charron at the Canadian Centre for Crime Statistics, the report looks at the location of reported crimes and the characteristics of the neighbourhoods in which they occurred.
The data, drawn from Statistic Canada’s Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR) “reflect reported crime that has been substantiated by police.” 106,175 incidents were clustered and mapped across the city.
The reports differentiates between violent crime and property crime, finding different correlations. The pattern shows that low-income and nearby neighbourhoods are more likely to suffer spillover effects.
Dividing crimes into violent and property ones, the report found:
- Neighbourhoods with higher violent crime rates tend to have less access to resources. Education level of residents was one of the best predictors of such access.These neighbourhoods also tended to be “densely populated and have a higher percentage of residents living in multi-unit dwellings” (the tall towers which are the focus of the Mayor’s renewal efforts.) These neighbourhoods are also more likely to have more children, more single-parent families, more renters, and more people of colour.
- Property crime (theft, break & enter) is concentrated around shopping centres, both large and small, in commercial districts, and in neighbourhoods around these places. Areas with high levels of education or a high portion of manufacturing and office jobs were less likely to report property crime.
Criminologists recognize the spatial patterns of crime. Crime comes in hot spots around the city. Mapping out various criminal activities, the report’s spatial crime patterns follow the same deprivation “U” which marks less privileged areas of the city. Densely populated cores, transportation and shopping hubs, which all draw large numbers of people, tended to report higher crime rates.
The report does not rank or rate specific neighbourhoods, however it did describe “some hot spots…Danforth, downtown east side, and the intersections of Lawrence and Morningside, Jane and Finch, and Jane and Eglinton.”
Here, for those who like the gory details, is what I could see on the maps. The highest levels of crime clustered in the following places:
- Breaking & Entering: Downsview, Bridle Path, Lawrence Park,Don Mills
- Drug offense: Jane-Finch, York, Dufferin Grove, Parkdale, New Toronto/Mimico, Trinity-Bellwoods, Regent Park, Greenwood- Woodbine, Crescent Town, Birchcliff, Cliffcrest, Scarborough Village, Kingston-Gallow, Woburn.
- Major Assault: Jane-Finch, Jane-401, York, Downtown west & east, Lawrence-Kingston Road.
- Minor Assault: Rexdale, Jane-FinchDownsview, Jane-401, Dufferin-Bloor, Parkdale, Don River-Gerrard, Danforth, Kingston Road, Woburn, Malvern
- Mischief: Riverdale, Cabbage Town, York, Morningside/Highland Creek.
- Motor Vehicle Theft: Etobicoke, Scarborough (where car ownership rates are higher)
- Robbery: Rexdale, Jane-Finch, Jane-Sheperd, York, Danforth, Woburn
- Sexual Assault: Rexdale, Jane-Finch, Jane-401, High Park, Bloor-Danforth, Kingston Road
- Theft: Dispersed along waterfront and main roads
- Theft from Motor Vehicle: Pearson Airport, Willowdale, High Park, Downtown (west & east), Riverdale, University of Toronto, Scarborough
In contrast, the city’s financial district and the north end of Yonge Street were identified as areas with lower rates of violence. In essence, the central neighbourhoods of the city are higher-income and safer areas, while neighbourhoods with poor physical infrastructure and social resources were more likely to have higher levels of police involvement.
So, the final word probably best belongs to Canadian housing activist Michael Shapcott who wryly noted in his Twitter feed about the study, “Plenty of crime in rich, white neighbourhoods (fraud, tax cheating, ‘white collar’), it just doesn’t get policed/reported.”
The City of Toronto’s website Wellbeing Toronto is a good source of neighbourhood-level data for seven major crime categories among a range of other demographic data..
The Toronto Star has a mapped out a range of crimes by FSA (Forward Sortation Area: the first three digits of a postal code).
The Toronto Police Services also maps the location of recent incidences.
See also other posts: