A closer look at crime statistics

I woke up this morning to a report on CJOB’s 8 a.m. newscast that shootings were up a dramatic 100 percent in Winnipeg, according to statistics released by the Winnipeg Police Service.

First, it wasn’t clear in what period of time this 100-percent increase took place over. And then, when they played a politician’s comments — those of senior Manitoba cabinet minister Vic Toews — I thought that I had better check this out.

So, I logged on to CrimeStat, the city’s crime information portal on the Internet, and looked at their figures.

Surprisingly, for the period Jan. 1, 2009 to May 16, 2009, CrimeStat showed shootings being down 25 percent from the same period in 2008. There were 28 shootings in the city between Jan. 1, 2008 and May 16, 2008. Between Jan. 1, 2009 and May 16, 2009, there were 21 shootings. These largely took place in the West End and North End, with outlying incidents reported in St. James, East Kildonan and Garden City.

When you’re dealing with such small numbers, it’s hard to say if this 25 percent decline represents a real improvement or is just based on pure chance.

While I had the stats there in front of me, I did a few calculations of my own to put things into perspective.

As the following table shows, shootings and homicides continue to be low-incidence crimes in Winnipeg. In the first four and a half months of 2009, there were 1.3 reported homicides per 100,000 people and 3.3 reported shootings  per 100,000 people.

Latest crime figures from CrimeStat. The calculations on the right are my own.Latest crime figures from CrimeStat. The calculations on the right are my own.

Winnipeggers are far more likely to be affected by residential break-ins (157.2 per 100,000) and attempted or actual motor vehicle thefts (141.9 and 126.8 per 100,000 respectively).

In terms of in-your-face crime, there were 81.5 non-commercial robberies per 100,000 people in the first four and a half months of the year. These were clustered mainly in the Downtown, West End and North End areas, with smaller clusters visible in the Elmwood, Polo Park and Osborne Village areas.  Commercial robberies were a bit less common (24.3 per 100,000), and were more widely dispersed aside from some clusters found in the West End, North End and St. Vital.

And among the quietest areas of the city in the first four and a half months of 2009 — the areas where CrimeStat shows no violent crimes (and some of these might surprise you):

  • The core of Wolseley, bounded by Walnut, Preston, Ruby and Wolseley.
  • Part of Minto between Ellice, Portage, Wall and Strathcona.
  • Substantial parts of St. James-Assiniboia well away from Portage, Ness and Cavalier. (The crime seems to follow the thoroughfares to some degree.)
  • A good part of The Maples, especially once you get west of Mandalay and north of Jefferson.
  • Most of East Kildonan and North Kildonan west of Henderson, as well as an area bounded by the city limits, Rothesay, Springfield and Gateway.
  • Newer areas of Transcona, east of Redonda, as well as sparsely populated South Transcona
  • Much of the area east of the Seine and south of Fermor, aside from an incident near Fermor and Lakewood. The stretch running from Novavista to the Perimeter and from Dakota to St. Anne’s was quiet as well, as was the River Road area.
  • Linden Woods, Whyte Ridge, Bridgwater Forest and Waverley Heights
  • River Heights between Corydon, Taylor, Waverley and the tracks just east of Kenaston; and the area south of Corydon and north of Grant, between Waverley and Pembina.
  • Tuxedo
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About theviewfromseven
A lone wolf and a bit of a contrarian who sometimes has something to share.

2 Responses to A closer look at crime statistics

  1. Fat Arse says:

    You know I read this the other day & noted the chart you presented broken down by the nature of the offense (Crim. code?) & something didn’t look right.

    Revisited tonight & realized there is no category for Arson. Now, granted it is a “lesser” crime (unless lives are lost or large capital interests lose property) I nevertheless am surprised that it does not have its own category. Is it subsumed in one of the other headings?

    Just curious. We have had 5 fires in the last two weeks (backlane garbage bins, etc) that I am aware off here in Ft. Richmond – just wondering how WPD accounts for these. Any guidance would be appreciated…. I know from a buddy on the force that there have been many e-calls (re: Arson) in the past 3 weeks – I just can’t figure out how they are accounted for… (probably cause I’m dumb)….

    Thanks,

  2. theviewfromseven says:

    That’s a good point you raise, “Fat Arse”. I don’t know why they don’t report arsons. (Maybe others out there can answer this?)

    One possibility is that it falls under the Fire Department’s jurisdiction rather than the WPS’s. But that’s just a guess.

    It would make a good addition to CrimeStat, though.

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