This dumbtwat to the left must be on very bad drugs. He’s so stupid his face is in his ass. He must be pretending to be so stupid. Crime rates have been on the decline in Canada, so the Conservative government comes out and says it’s because people aren’t reporting crimes, so we gotta build more jails. No. I got a more brilliant idea how about spending those billions of jail dollars on better hospitals or/and shorter wait times, education, poverty, and other proactive things than on jails for unreported crime.
Brampton resident Rob Breault has had over $1,000 worth of property stolen from his car and backyard in the past few years, but he hasn’t reported a cent to police.
The 31-year-old takes a pragmatic approach to a stolen stereo system here, a smashed car window there: “Police have bigger fish to fry.”
According to a call for input on thestar.com, he’s not alone. Many Toronto residents say they have been victimized by car thefts, home and garage break-ins, stolen bikes and more, but deem the crime too insignificant for police involvement.
Others, such as Marni Miller, 41, didn’t want the inconvenience of a police report and had little hope it would yield results. When her car was broken into outside her North York home last year, Miller didn’t even think of reporting it.
“I really didn’t want to have the hassle of dealing with police,” she said. “People don’t really report minimal things anymore. It’s so much more of a hassle than a benefit.”
That may lend credence to Treasury Board Minister Stockwell Day’s assertion that Canada needs more prisons because unreported crime is on the rise. He told reporters Tuesday that “people simply aren’t reporting the way they used to,” though he was unable to produce evidence of a recent increase. The federal government later circulated a six-year-old Statistics Canada study it said backed up his claim.
But while GTA police acknowledge the occurrence of unreported crime, they cannot confirm it’s a growing problem in the region.
“Certainly unreported crime exists. Whether it has increased or decreased is pure speculation on our part,” said Sgt. Zahir Shah with Peel Police. The severity of unreported crimes is not known, he added, so it’s impossible say if more prisons are needed.
According to Toronto Police statistics, the number of Criminal Code offences in 2008 decreased by six per cent from 2007.
But the total number of calls received at the Toronto police communications centre in 2008 — including crime reports — was up by almost 25,000, to just over 1.8 million.
Const. Tony Vella of the Toronto Police said he doesn’t know if unreported crime is on the rise, but said the rate should be zero.
“Regardless of whether you think it’s worth your while, you should report it,” he said. All reports are logged and help police identify crime trends, he said.
Breault doesn’t think more jails would solve a problem with unreported crime.
“I think the vast majority of these crimes would be these minor-type crimes, and I don’t think you really put people in prison for stealing a GPS unit,” he said.
But more severe crimes, such as sexual and domestic abuse, continue to go unreported, said Susan Davidson, executive director of victim services of Peel.
She says shame, guilt and depression can stop sexual assault victims from going to police, while factors such as financial concerns and immigration status can inhibit the reporting of domestic abuse.
Davidson said correctional facilities geared toward people who have sexually deviant behaviour is a better solution — not more jails.
“Throwing people in prison isn’t truly, I don’t think, going to be helpful,” she said.
Unreported crime stats don’t measure overall victimization: StatsCan
OTTAWA—Statistics on unreported crimes cited by Treasury Board Minister Stockwell Day as a reason to build more prisons can’t be used to measure victimization of Canadians, says an analyst at the agency that collected the crime data.
Day had observers scratching their heads when he suggested Tuesday that statistics showing a decline in crime rates can’t be trusted because unreported crime is on the rise.
But the six-year-old study of unreported crime referenced by the government to back up Day’s claim has serious limitations as a snapshot of criminal activity, said Warren Silver, an analyst who works with the data collected by Statistics Canada in 2004.
“It covers only eight offences,” Silver said, “so it cannot really be used to measure the overall victimization of Canadians.”
The 2004 poll, known as the General Social Survey, asked 24,000 Canadians aged 15 years and older if they had been the victim of any of eight crimes in the previous 12 months and whether they had reported the incidents to the police.
The crimes surveyed were theft of personal property, theft of household property, vandalism, sexual assault, robbery, physical assault, motor vehicle theft and break-and-enter.
StatsCan said 28 per cent of respondents reported being victimized one or more times in 2004, up slightly from 26 per cent in the previous survey in 1999.
Of the crimes studied, the only significant increases were in theft of household and personal property and vandalism. Break-and-enters showed a decline over the previous poll.
And, in general, the results showed that in 2004 “Canadians feel safer from crime than in 1999 and are generally more satisfied with their overall personal safety,” StatsCan said.
On why victims might not report crimes to police, Silver said the most common reason cited (by 38 per cent of respondents) was that the incident was not important enough. He said only 3 per cent of respondents thought the police would not help, 2 per cent reported fear of revenge by the offender as a reason not to go to police and another 2 per cent didn’t report because “nothing was taken” by the criminal.
Silver said the General Social Survey helps provide a picture of the crime situation but is not as reliable as police crime statistics, which account for 200 crimes.
The survey is taken every five years and the next report on the statistics will be coming out this fall.
President of the Treasury Board Stockwell Day and Conservative MP Denis Lebel hold a press conference at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on Tuesday Aug. 3, 2010.
Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS