[JURIST] Statistics Canada [official website] reported Thursday that Canadian crime rates have hit their lowest levels [materials] since 1973. Crime fell 5 percent in 2010 to just over two million crimes committed. Experts cite [Toronto Sun report] Canada's aging population as well as keeping children in school longer as major reasons for the decline. The recent statistics have led opponents of the current administration to criticize recent increased funding for crime prevention and prisons. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper [official website] announced plans last month to pass several crime bills [Huffington Post report] that are estimated to add a billion dollars a year to the budget and 4,000 new inmates a year. New measures include eliminating pardons for sexual crimes against children, establishing minimum sentences for drug offenses and implementing preventative arrests for terrorism suspects.
The Canadian drop in crime mirrors recent trends in the US. In May, the FBI reported that violent crime was down 5.5 percent [JURIST report] from 2009 to 2010. The Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report, January-December 2010 [text] also showed a decrease in murder by 4.4 percent and in rape by 4.2 percent. The highest drop was the decrease in robbery at 9.5 percent. The 5.5 percent decrease was down from the 6.2 percent decrease reported in the 2010 six-month report from January to June [JURIST report].