Canada is one of the world’s safest, most prosperous, and most developed nations, but like all nations, we continue to struggle with social ills including violent crime. Since we are constantly exposed to crimes of a violent nature via the cases that we litigate, we thought we would do some research into the statistics. Is it safe to live in British Columbia in 2017? The answer may surprise you. It’s important to know that determining what is and is not a violent crime, and, more importantly, if the alleged perpetrator is actually guilty and not wrongfully accused is very difficult, so all numbers must be treated accordingly. Here are the crime statistics from the government of BC.

Violent crime has decreased steadily

Perhaps due to increased police presence, high social standards, or perhaps even changes in the way cases are litigated, the overall instances of violent crime in BC have decreased steadily over the last decade. According to official government statistics, instances of violent offences such as:

● Sexual assault (3,000 in 2006 vs 2,300 in 2015)
● Aggravated assault level 2 (8,900 vs 6,800)
● Robbery (5,300 vs 3,600)
● And criminal harassment (3,600 vs 2,000)

Have all decreased steadily in roughly the last decade. BC continues to be one of the safest provinces in terms of violent crime, and will continue to be so. That being said, there are still accusations of violent crimes regularly, so you must be aware of your rights under the law.

Criminal code offences have dropped as well

Crimes that violate the criminal code but don’t necessarily involve a direct human victim are often referred to as criminal code offences. Some examples could be counterfeiting, weapons charges, or disturbing the peace. One trend over the last decade is that there have been sweeping decreases across the board. Look at these changes for major offences:

● Counterfeiting – more than 50% decrease
● Weapons – nearly 2,000 fewer offences
● Prostitution – nearly eliminated! 1,300 offences in 2006 vs 49 in 2015!

In total, there were greater than 20,000 fewer violent offences in 2015 as opposed to just a decade earlier, and greater than 70,000 fewer property offences as compared to 10 years ago. As criminal lawyers in British Columbia, it makes us happy to see people staying on the right side of the law and our province continuing to be safe. That being said, we are still not perfect. If you’ve been accused of a crime, you have rights under the law. Contact us today for more information.