POLITICS

Crime rates higher in northern areas of provinces and territories: report

05/05/2015 05:49 EDT | Updated 05/05/2016 05:59 EDT
REGINA - Statistics Canada says northern Saskatchewan has the highest crime rate in the country compared to other northern regions.

The agency said Tuesday in 2013, that police-reported crime rates in northern areas of provinces doubled the south, and crime rates in the territories were seven times higher.

In Saskatchewan, almost 55,000 crimes were reported per 100,000 people in the north, compared to just over 9,000 in the south.

Report co-author Mary Allen said some of the difference can be explained by higher rates of mischief and disturbing the peace in the north. The offences made up more than one third of all crime reported in northern provincial regions and 60 per cent in territories.

"The only two offences which were actually lower in the north than the south were robbery and extortion," Allen said. "So crime of all kinds is higher in the north."

She said violent crimes such as assault are more prevalent.

"It's one of the most frequent violent offences everywhere," she said.

The report notes that Nunavut, northern Manitoba and the Northwest Territories also had high levels of crime, followed by Yukon and northern Newfoundland and Labrador.

In northern Ontario and Quebec, crime rates were closer to the national average.

Allen said northern Saskatchewan has notably high rates of criminal offences related to the administration of justice.

"That would be offences such as breach of condition, failure to appear, that kind of thing," she said. "Just about every single offence ... all of the major offences, Saskatchewan had the highest rates."

The report says while about six per cent of Canada's population lives in the provincial north and 0.3 per cent in the territories, the areas accounted for 12 per cent and two per cent of crimes respectively.

Allen said the comparison is valuable to understand variations among northern communities.

"Policing in the north ... is a big challenge," she said. "By being able to look more specifically at the kinds of offences that are being reported in different areas ... I'm hoping this will help people understand what's going on in different regions."