If you live in the United States or Canada and you feel less safe than you did 20 years ago, you are likely either in one of the very few geographic bubbles (like Chicago or rural Alberta) or you are a victim of politicians and social media trying to manipulate your natural fears.  The fact is that crime, violent and otherwise is waaaay down.

Canadian Crime Statistics

Below are the Canadian statistics and they roughly concur with the US crime statistics in that crime peaked near the year 1990 and then declined between 30 to 80% in all categories and in nearly all regions.  This despite the fact that it is more likely a citizen will report a crime today than they would have 30 years ago.

United States Crime Statistics

Researchers do not point to a single change that resulted in the decreases.  Instead, as explained in the video below, it was based on many factors.

What Is The Single Reason Crime Is On The Decline?

If you really need to over simplify the reduction in crime down to a single factor, you can say that “engagement” has brought down the crime rates.  This includes:

  • “Community Policing” – getting police out of cars and into neighborhoods showed the locals that cops are not to be feared
  • Citizen Driven Anti-Crime Initiatives – groups like “citizens on patrol“, “rural crime watches” and “police advisory panels” have citizens working WITH police
  • Coordinated Policing – Modern communication and database systems allow various law enforcement agencies (Customs and Boarder Patrol, Federal Police [CSIS, FBI,…] and local police) easily work together

Beyond “engagement” there are dozens of other notable factors including:

  • Targeted Policing – ‘Task Forces’ of law enforcement agencies now often target known or developing crime patterns
  • Aging Populations – crime is most often committed by 15 to 30 year old males – In 1990 the average age of a Canadian was 35, today it is more than 41 years old.

It is important to remember that when you hear that crime is on the rise, it is likely just a temporary blip from the previous year or two and not representative of the long term trend.  This is also true when crime has a sudden massive drop in one year, like it has so far in Chicago in 2018.

There is still much work to be done to further improve the situation, but overall, crime has substantially declined in the last 30 years so most of you should not be scared to go out at night or leave your car unlocked once in a while.

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