Yukon third in crime, despite decline

While the Yukon's crime rate continues to drop, it is still the third highest in the country, according to a report released by Statistics Canada this week.

While the Yukon’s crime rate continues to drop, it is still the third highest in the country, according to a report released by Statistics Canada this week. The national crime rate continues to decline and is at its lowest since 1972. The Yukon’s rate is twice the national rate but is the lowest of the three territories.

Western Canada continues to have higher crime rates than the rest of the country. The Northwest Territories has the highest, Ontario has the lowest.

The Yukon also had the third highest rate of violent crime in the country.

Statistics provide only a “soft” indicator of crime, says David Gilbert, director of organizational strategy at the RCMP. They are most helpful when used to determine general trends.

“The worst thing you can do is see a simple number and expect a simple solution,” he said.

Crime rates are based on populations of 100,000. This multiplies a single crime in the Yukon by three in the statistics.

The most commonly reported crime in the territory during 2011 was impaired driving, followed by major assaults. Alcohol continues to be a factor in several crimes, Gilbert said.

The RCMP flags all reported crimes related to alcohol.

Small community sizes may contribute to the higher crime rates. It can be easier for people to know what is happening, Gilbert said. Some crimes, particularly domestic violence, remain largely underreported.

There were four attempted murders reported in the territory in 2011. Yukon was the only jurisdiction in Canada with no reported homicides.