A Detailed Look At Crime In Calgary By The Numbers
Person crimes are those where a person or persons have been victimized by a crime involving violence. These include:
- Sex Offenses
- Domestic Violence
Separate detailed domestic violence statistics were introduced starting in 2016.
There are a number of types and levels of assault, however I will be looking closely at three in particular which I am highlighting in bold below:
- Level 3 – Aggravated
- Level 2 – With A Weapon/Causing Bodily Harm
- Level 1 – Common
- Assault Of A Police Officer
- Discharging A Firearm With Intent
- Other Assaults
The total number of assaults in 2018 was 45% higher (+2790) than 2014. Of significance in this category:
- 2018 Level 2 Assaults were 75% higher (+1101) than 2014.
- Level 1 offenses were 35% higher (+1524) in 2018 over 2014.
- Assaults on police were an incredible 79% higher (+150) in 2018 compared to 2014.
Robbery encompasses five different offences:
- Home Invasion
- Robbery Of Firearm
I did an analysis on all but Robbery Of Firearm, as there were very few of these offences. Again, as with other categories, there is a significant increase in offences in 2015 followed by a reduction in 2016, and then steadily climbing through 2018.
On a percentage basis financial robberies saw the biggest increase in 2015 up 66% (+23), Home Invasions rose 60% (+30), and Commercial Robbery was up 55% (+107). The total number of robberies rose 17% (+149) in 2015 and ended 2018 up 20% (+176) over 2014.
Sex Offences fall into five categories:
- Level 3 – Aggravated Sexual Assualt
- Level 2 – Sexual Assault With A Weapon or Threat Of Violence
- Level 1 – Sexual Assault
- Indecent Acts
The total number of Sex Offenses rose at a somewhat stable rate between 2014 and 2016 climbing by 10% (+86), but it took a 22% jump in 2017 (+205) and another y-y increase of 11% (+128) in 2018.
It is the increase in the number of Level 2 offenses that is the most dramatic and perhaps the most alarming of all.
So many questions.
The growing #MeToo and #TimesUp movements resulted in a 32 per cent increase in the number of sex crimes Calgary police dealt with last year, with 391 files compared to 296 in 2016, police say.
It certainly would not be unreasonable to think that the #metoo movement would result in an increase in the number of reported sexual assaults. Across North America police were noticing an increase in the number of sexual assault reports filed.
However this does not entirely explain the results being seen here in Calgary. The #metoo movement began in October of 2017, which is the third quarter. But statistics show that the number of Level 2 Sex Assaults began to increase in the first quarter of that year. There was an increase in Q3, but the trend for the entire year was up over the previous year.
It’s also reasonable to assume that the number of Level 2 Sex Assaults would go up after the 2018 review. However I can’t say for certain whether this would be the cause of the massive increase.
Could there have been a file “coding” problem previous to 2017 that had already been rectified by the time the review started? Should the review of case files gone back further than the period that was reviewed?
“Of the 48, one was reinvestigated, the other 47 were recoded as inactive,” Sparrow said. “There was evidence in the investigation to prove that the offence occurred, but there wasn’t enough evidence in the investigation to identify the offender.”
Police commission chair Brian Thiessen said lack of training was the cause of the coding error, but added that officers will be retrained by the sexual offence co-ordinator so it won’t happen again.
In addition to the increase in caseload, the Sex Crimes unit saw a corresponding reduction in the number of crimes solved. In 2014, the unit solved 57.1% of their cases. By 2018, that number had plummeted to only 17.5%.
The huge increase in the total number of sex assaults, coupled with the fact that the unit had not had a corresponding increase in manpower, would account for this result. But is this the only reason? Could there be something else going on that might cause this?
This raises the question of whether or not the Sex Crimes Unit has received the extra manpower that it requested to handle this burgeoning caseload. If not, at what point will officials decide that the safety of the public is so at risk that they have no choice but to act?
Total Person Crimes
The total number of Person Crimes was up by over 57% between 2014 and 2018, showing no signs of slowing down. If this doesn’t serve as justification for additional police resources in Calgary, I honestky don’t know what would.
Safety at risk
These results show that there has clearly been a sharp increase in crime since the oil collapse of 2014. What this translates to is a significant increase in the risk to public safety, as well as to front-line officers. Just today, another member of the Calgary Police Service was wounded in the line of duty while responding to a domestic situation.
This also raises questions as to the operation of the department. Whether it’s a matter of decision making by the top brass or the need for additional resources, something will absolutely have to be done. Otherwise the risk to the public and to front line officers will only increase to an even higher level than it is now. This city desperately needs for things to start turning around, and the sooner that happens, the better off we’ll all be.