Canada’s penitentiary capital, home to some of the country’s vilest (incarcerated) citizens, is now home to the nation’s top crime busters, according to Statistics Canada. The national number crunching agency has released its annual report (full doc after the jump) that tracks the size, spending and crime-solving prowess of all of the country’s police departments. The municipal police service in Kingston, Ontario, population roughly 120,000, solved 47.8% of the roughly 7,300 crimes reported in 2009, according to StatsCan. This means that they can boast that they’re number 1 among big city police departments.
Kingston narrowly edged the Durham Regional Police force for bragging rights as top crime solvers among Canada’s departments serving communities of 100,000 people or greater. Durham police, who patrol the Oshawa-Whitby area in Ontario, cleared 47.6% of crimes last year. StatsCan says Sherbrooke, Quebec, had a higher crime clearance rate (61.7%), but it’s not considered comparable because of a special initiative they launched to crack unsolved historic crimes.
The latest Police Resources in Canada report is based on a new weighted system for scoring crime solving, in tandem with the recent introduction of weighted scoring of crime rates to produce a new crime severity index (I’ve written plenty about that previously). This means that a murder is considered 1,000 times more important than a charge of possession of marijuana. It dramatically boosts a police department’s solve rate, but also hurts the crime severity index for the community.
Kingston Police benefit from solving four murders in 2009, though the accused haven’t yet been tried – police can mark a crime cleared, or solved, as soon as they have enough evidence to lay a charge, regardless of whether a charge is ever laid and regardless of the outcome of the criminal case. A Montreal father, mother and their eldest son are charged with four counts of first-degree murder. Their trial is scheduled to begin in April, 2011 in Kingston.
The new StatsCan report led to some chest thumping in Kingston, but there may be some soul searching on the East Coast. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, responsible for patrolling St. John’s, have the worst crime solving rate in the country, among big city departments. They solved 23.7% of crimes reported to them in 2009. Keep in mind that these stats reflect only crimes reported to police, and other StatsCan research suggests roughly 70% of all crime is never reported, though much of that unreported crime is non-violent property offences.
The StatsCan report gives us another notable tidbit of information, the total cost of Canadian crime-fighting. It rings in at more than $12.3 billion for 2009.
Here’s the 2010 edition of the Police Resources in Canada report: