Memorial University’s Leslie Harris Centre released its annual Vital Signs Report yesterday. A section of which focused on crime in our province. It’s official: we have higher rates of crime in general compared to the Canadian average (5,924 versus 5,224 per 100,000 population).
This includes, specifically, more impaired driving, more property crime, and notably more violent crime. We’re even on par with the average rate of homicide in a Canadian province. The Canadian average for homicide is 1.68 per population of 100,000; our number is 1.32.
Interestingly, despite these numbers, 77% of people in our province ” feel very safe or reasonably safe.” Perception is everything … until you lose an eye, purse, or car.
Part of that feeling of safety is explained by the fact that much of our crime is “hidden,” and doesn’t make the news or our personal radars, as it’s being kept quiet. But it’s happening for sure.
As Nicole Kieley, Executive Director of NL Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre says, “Sexual violence continues to be prevalent in Newfoundland and Labrador. Our centre has experienced a 300% increase in individuals utilizing our crisis line over the past three years.”
There is good news on the crime front though, especially in the wake of the nationwide opioid crisis. A graph on page 5 of the report that clearly states, “drug crime in NL peaked in 2011, when the rate was almost the same as the Canadian average, but since then has been declining.”
That said, while “declining” is good, the numbers still aren’t great.