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2A Crime Rate

Description | Specific Indicators | Ontario Public Health Standards (OPHS)Corresponding Indicator(s) from Statistics Canada | Corresponding Indicator(s) from Other Sources | Data Sources | Alternative Data Sources | Analysis Check List | Method of Calculation | Basic Categories | Indicator Comments | Definitions | Cross-References to Other Sections | Cited ReferencesChanges Made | Acknowledgements



  • The crime rate is the number of Criminal Code offences (excluding Criminal Code traffic offences) reported to police for every 100,000 persons within the geographic area in question. Rates per municipal police service are based on the population within the police service's jurisdictional boundaries.
  • The youth crime rate is the number of youths aged 12-17 years charged with a Criminal Code offence (excluding Criminal Code traffic offences) for every 100,000 youths aged 12-17 years within the geographic area in question. Rates per municipal police service are based on the population within the police service's jurisdictional boundaries.
  • The adult crime rate is the number of adults 18 years and older charged with a Criminal Code offence (excluding Criminal Code traffic offences) for every 100,000 adults 18 years and older within the geographic area in question. Rates per municipal police service are based on the population within the police service's jurisdictional boundaries.


Specific Indicators
  • Crime rate
  • Youth crime rate
  • Adult crime rate

Ontario Public Health Standards (OPHS)

The Ontario Public Health Standards (OPHS) establish requirements for the fundamental public health programs and services carried out by boards of health, which include assessment and surveillance, health promotion and policy development, disease and injury prevention, and health protection. The OPHS consist of one Foundational Standard and 13 Program Standards that articulate broad societal goals that result from the activities undertaken by boards of health and many others, including community partners, non-governmental organizations, and governmental bodies. These results have been expressed in terms of two levels of outcomes: societal outcomes and board of health outcomes. Societal outcomes entail changes in health status, organizations, systems, norms, policies, environments, and practices and result from the work of many sectors of society, including boards of health, for the improvement of the overall health of the population. Board of health outcomes are the results of endeavours by boards of health and often focus on changes in awareness, knowledge, attitudes, skills, practices, environments, and policies. Boards of health are accountable for these outcomes. The standards also outline the requirements that boards of health must implement to achieve the stated results.

Outcomes Related to this Indicator 
  • Population Health Assessment (Foundational Standard): The board of health shall assess current health status, health behaviours, preventive health practices, health care utilization relevant to public health, and demographic indicators in accordance with the Population Health Assessment and Surveillance Protocol, 2008 (or as current).
Assessment and Surveillance Requirements (Prevention of Injury and Substance Misuse)
  • The board of health shall conduct epidemiological analysis of surveillance data, including monitoring trends over time, emerging trends, and priority populations, in accordance with the Population Health Assessment and Surveillance Protocol, 2008 (or as current), in the areas of.....alcohol and other substances; ralls across the lifespan; road and off-road safety; and other areas of public health importance for the prevention of injuries.


Corresponding Indicator(s) from Statistics Canada and CIHI

Crimes Incidents and Rates Tables:

CANSIM Tables:

Corresponding Indicator(s) from Other Sources
  • None
Data Source(s)
Numerator: Criminal Code Offences
Original source: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics (CCJS)
Distributed by: Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics
Suggested Citation: [year] Uniform Crime Reporting Survey, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada

Denominator: Population Estimates
Original source: Statistics Canada
Distributed by: Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care: IntelliHEALTH Ontario
Suggested citation (see Data Citation Notes): Population Estimates [years]*, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, IntelliHEALTH ONTARIO, Date Extracted: [date].

* Note: Use the total years of the estimates, including the most recent year, even if not all were used in the analysis. The years used in the analysis should be included in the report itself

Alternative Data Sources

Municipal police services internal data

  • These data may different from those published by the CCJS via CANSIM because: 1) the CCJS reflects data received within a certain timeframe whereas police service data is ongoing, and 2) The offence categories may differ from those used by the CCJS. Local data will likely have lower levels of geography however comparing forces will have limitations because of lack of standard categories and definitions.  
Analysis Check List
  • None
Method of Calculation  
Crime Rate: 

total number of actual offences

x 100,000

total population in geographic area


Youth Crime Rate: 

total number of youths charged

x 100,000

population 12-17 years of age in geographic area


Adult Crime Rate: 

total number of adults charged

x 100,000

population 18+ years of age in geographic


Basic Categories 
  • Type of crime: Violent crimes, property crimes, other criminal code offences, drug offences, impaired driving, other criminal code traffic offences.
  • Age groups: Youth (12-17 years), adult (18+ years)
  • Sex: male, female, total.
  • Geographic areas: police service boundaries (Municipal forces, Provincial rural and RCMP rural) census sub-divisions within areas served by municipal forces.
Indicator Comments  
  • Since crime events are counted in terms of where they occur, the appropriate denominator is based on the populations of the CSDs policed by the reporting police service.
  • Changes in the number of crimes reported can be affected by changes in police enforcement, crime reporting systems, or community involvement in crime reporting.
  • The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics does not recommend reporting the adult crime rate because the population over age 50 have a lower probability of committing a crime, which negatively skews the estimated risk of committing a crime for the adult population as a whole.
  • The count of incidents included in the Crime Rate indicator is the number of incidents reported to police that have not been determined to be unfounded. Unfounded incidents are removed from the reported incidents count before calculating the Crime Rate. For non-violent crimes, one incident (categorized according to the most serious offence in the incident) is counted for every distinct or separate occurrence.

[From Uniform Crime Reporting Survey Incident-based Survey Reporting Manual (1)]

  • Incident: The "incident" is the basis for counting reported crime in both UCR Surveys. An incident is the set of connected events usually constituting an occurrence report. In the aggregate survey, the incident is used in conjunction with the most serious offence rule (see below) to form the aggregate offence counts. In the incident-based survey, information for each incident is reported individually. Aggregate most serious offence rules are then applied to these data in order to reconcile them with historical aggregate counts as well as with data from aggregate respondents. The incident "date" is based on the date the incident became known to the police, as opposed to the date on which the incident occurred.
  • Most Serious Offence (MSO): The UCR Survey classifies incidents according to the most serious offence (MSO) in the incident. In categorizing incidents, violent offences always take precedence over non-violent offences. Within the violent and non-violent offences categories, offences are sorted according to the maximum sentence under the Criminal Code.
  • Violent Incidents: 
    • Violent incidents involve offences that deal with the application - or threat of application - of force to a person. These include homicide, attempted murder, various forms of sexual and non-sexual assault, robbery and abduction. Traffic incidents that result in death or bodily harm are included under Criminal Code traffic incidents.
    • Violent incidents (except robbery) are counted based on the number of victims of the crime committed instead of by incident. A separate incident is recorded for each victim (categorized according to the most serious offence against the victim). If, for example, one person assaults three people, then three incidents are recorded. If three people assault one person, only one incident is recorded.
    • Robbery is the exception to the above scoring rule. Unlike all other violent offences, one occurrence of robbery is equal to one incident, regardless of the number of victims. The reason for this exception is that robbery can involve many people who could all be considered victims. In a bank robbery with 5 tellers and 20 customers present, 25 incidents of robbery would be counted if the normal scoring rule for violent incidents were applied. This would seriously overstate the occurrence of robbery.
    • Thus, the total number of incidents recorded by the UCR Survey is not a census of all violations of the law that come to the attention of police. Rather, it is equal to the number of victims of violent crimes (other than robberies) plus the number of separate occurrences of non-violent crimes (and robberies).
  • Property incidents: Property Incidents involve unlawful acts with the intent of gaining property but do not involve the use theft. Breaking and entering, fraud and possession of stolen goods are examples of property crimes. In the case of property crimes, victims are termed as ‘complainants' in order to distinguish them from victims of violent and other criminal code incidents.
  • Other Criminal Code incidents: Other Criminal Code incidents involve the remaining Criminal Code offences that are not classified as violent or property incidents (excluding traffic). Examples are mischief, bail violations, disturbing the peace, arson, prostitution and offensive weapons.
  • Total Criminal Code Incidents: Total Criminal Code incidents is the sum of all violent, property and other Criminal Code incidents reported for a given year. Violent incidents (except robbery) are counted on a per victim basis, while property, robbery and other Criminal Code incidents are counted on a per incident basis, based on the MSO.
  • Actual Incidents: When a crime is reported to the police, the incident is recorded as a "reported" incident. Police then conduct a preliminary investigation to determine the validity of the report. Occasionally, crimes reported to the police prove to be unfounded. Unfounded incidents are subtracted from the number of reported incidents to produce the number of "actual incidents." Numbers and rates of crime are calculated on the basis of "actual incidents" categorized according to the MSO.
  • Persons Charged: 
    • The UCR Survey also records the number of persons charged. For incidents that are cleared, the survey collects the number of adults charged by sex as well as the number of youths (aged 12 to 17 years) charged by sex. The "persons charged" category includes the number of people charged (not the number of charges laid) or recommended for charges by police. A person who is simultaneously charged with more than one offence is counted according to the most serious offence, even if the offences occurred in more than one incident. In addition, persons may be counted more than once throughout the year; that is, individuals are counted on each occasion that they are charged by police.
    • "Persons charged" refers to persons who were charged in connection with a particular incident. These persons, however, may have been charged later with a lesser offence. For example, a person who commits a breaking and entering offence may end up being charged with possession of stolen goods if, for instance, the police have better evidence on the latter offence. Both the "actual incident" and the "person charged" are counted under breaking and entering, even though the person was actually charged with possession of stolen goods.
  • Clearance of Actual Incidents:
    • Criminal incidents can either be cleared "by charge" or "cleared otherwise". When a police investigation leads to the identification of a suspect, an "information" is laid against that person (i.e., the person is formally charged). From a statistical point of view, the laying of an information means that at least one actual incident can be "cleared by charge."
    • Incidents can also be "cleared otherwise." In some cases, police cannot lay an information even if they have identified a suspect and have enough evidence to support the laying of an information. Examples include cases of diplomatic immunity, instances where the complainant declines to proceed with charges against the accused, or cases where the alleged offender dies before he or she can be formally charged. Such incidents are considered to be "cleared otherwise," that is, other than by the laying of a charge.
    • Since the process of solving crime is often time-consuming, a criminal incident may be solved months or even years after it was reported to police and recorded on the UCR Survey. Therefore, on the aggregate UCR database, there is no direct relationship between the number of "actual incidents" and the number of "incidents cleared." This is why it is possible for the number of incidents cleared to be greater than the total number of actual incidents.
    • Although total incidents are not necessarily linked with those incidents that are cleared, a clearance rate may provide a good indication of the proportion of incidents that are cleared by charge or otherwise for different types of offences. Some types of procedural differences influence the comparability of municipal or provincial data. Specifically, the survey element "clearance status" is interpreted differently in several provinces compared to other jurisdictions. In New Brunswick and Quebec (for the Sûreté du Québec only), the initial clearance status recommended by the police (e.g., cleared by a specific charge) is subject to approval by the Crown. Should the Crown find insufficient evidence to proceed with the charge, the police revise their records to take into account the recommendation of the Crown. According to the data element definition, a charge is cleared only if there is sufficient evidence to proceed. However, other jurisdictions, including British Columbia which has a system similar to Quebec, do not revise their internal records when the Crown disagrees with the police assessment of the evidence. For this reason, caution should be taken in making comparisons between jurisdictions for this data element.

Cross-References to Other Sections

  • Injury mortality (Section 4C: Injury Prevention and Substance Abuse Prevention) - Homicide death rate 
Cited References
  1. Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics Policing Services Program, Statistics Canada. Uniform Crime Reporting Incident-based Survey Reporting Manual. Ottawa, ON: Queen's Printer for Canada, 2008. 
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