StatsCan’s guide to dodging violent crime

Want to stay safe from violent crime in Canada? Statistics Canada has published a veritable guide to how to do it, with the release today of a new study.

The first bit of advice about avoiding being a victim of violence is simple. Just be yourself. You don’t really have to do anything, because the numbers are pretty clear.

Ninety-five per cent of Canadians were not a victim of violent crime in the one-year study period (2003). That’s right, all violent crime befell just five per cent (that’s right, 5%) of the population. It means, of course, that statistically speaking, your chance of being a victim of violent crime is very low.

Don’t take my word for it. Have a read through the study, which I’ve posted here as an e-doc, or you can visit the Statistics Canada site. Of course, it isn’t really a guide to staying safe, it’s a study of repeat victimization, based on the 2004 General Social Survey.

The study also paints a portrait of those who are most often victimized, meaning you can use that data to keep yourself out of harm’s way, at least statistically speaking. To stay safe, get married. Single folks are victims more often. Don’t go out at night, at least not often and don’t drink alcohol. If there’s some way to do it, get older. Roughly 99% of folks 55 and older suffered absolutely no violent crime in the one-year study period. And retire, if you can. More than 99% of retired Canadians suffered zero violent crimes.

The other notable finding in this study is the revelation that most violent crime hits a very small group of people repeatedly. Three out of every five violent crimes was experienced by less than 2% of the population.

Keep in mind that the violent crimes described in this study don’t jive with official crime statistics, which represent only crimes reported to police. This study uses self-report victimization information, generally considered a more reliable indicator of the true level of criminal activity.


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