Even with our growing understanding of what it takes to keep a home or property safe, the unfortunate truth is that property can be stolen or damaged in the event of a burglary, theft, vandalism, arson, or breaking and entering, with or without the threat of force. Sadly, Canadian property crimes have been going up in recent years, though they fortunately remain lower than in decades past. They also tend to be less severe than in the past.
Canadian Property Crimes
While Canada is considered one of the safer countries, how safe and secure your property is depends on which territory or city you live in. For instance, Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary are among the safest cities worldwide. Crime can also differ dramatically between districts. For example, in Manitoba, property crimes in the district’s Western part made up only 23%. In the North, that number shot up to 43%. In comparison, drug enforcement was more evenly distributed at about 33 – 34% for the West, East, and North. And, throughout the province, crimes increased by 14%.
Crime, in general, has increased in the last couple of years. Police reported crimes went up 4% from 2021 to 2022. Violent crimes or crime severity also went up, as did non-violent crimes. And, between 2022 and 2021, robbery rates jumped 15%, motor vehicle theft increased 24%, and breaking and entering increased 4%, accounting for nearly 133,000 incidents in 2022. Breaking and entering can be serious issues as they make up ~35% of Canadian crimes.
That said, crime—including theft rates—is still lower than at the beginning of the pandemic in 2019 and significantly lower (by 30%) than at peak levels in 2003. Property crimes, in fact, are 30.6% lower than in 2003, even after going up over the last few years.
And other crimes, such as drug offenses, identity fraud and theft, and impaired driving, have all dropped during this same period. It is, however, worth noting these types of crimes have been on the rise for decades.
Canadian Property Crimes—Rural vs. Urban
Rural areas, especially those in the Northern provinces, are also seeing higher rates of all crimes, including against private residences, than in more urban areas. The Crime Severity Index, or CSI, is a measure of the volume combined with the seriousness of the crime. With the exception of Prince Edward Island and British Columbia, the CSI was higher in rural areas than in urban cities, especially for violent crimes.
The types of crimes reported in rural areas, however, also differ. For example, mischief is the most commonly reported crime by police in rural areas. Mischief accounted for ~93,000 instances—or 45%—of property crimes in 2021. Mischief is also common in urban areas, with ~189,000 reported incidents. This makes it the second most common police-reported offense. Keep in mind that these numbers indicate mischief is almost three times more common in rural areas than urban areas when based on population.
Preventing Canadian Property Crimes
Whether the country’s or providence’s statistics are improving or worsening, you can take steps to better protect your family and your home. It often comes down to creating a balance of making your home warm and welcoming to friends and family without enticing potential thieves. Some of the simplest steps you can take include:
- Locking doors, windows, gates, and other points of entrance.
- Lighting up your property well with motion sensor lighting for driveways, entryways, and pathways.
- Adding timers to lights when you’re away from your home, so it looks like someone is there. While you’re at it, turn on a radio or TV, so it sounds like someone is home.
- If you are away, don’t advertise it on your social media—wait until you get home and post highlight photos then. Also, avoid notifying callers that you’re out of town with your voicemail message or email auto replies.
- Stowing or locking up expensive items, such as cars, bikes, ladders, toys, or even BBQ grills, especially if they can be quietly rolled away.
- Breaking down boxes to avoid advertising expensive purchases like a new laptop, gaming console, or TV.
- Maintaining landscape, so you don’t provide easy places to hide for someone who wants to break in.
- Add privacy film or curtains to windows for privacy.
- Stowing valuables where they can’t be seen, either in a closed closet or locked cabinet or drawer.
- Getting to know your neighbors and helping each other keep an eye on your homes or for suspicious behavior (without jumping to conclusions if you see someone new).
- If possible, get together with your neighbors to increase lighting along the street as well.
- Installing a security system that can let you know if your home has been breached and sounds an alarm to deter anyone who tries to get inside uninvited.
- Posting signs alerting people of the security system can also be a strong deterrent.
An ADT (now Telus) monitored alarm system from Alarm Guard provides added security for you, your property, and your family. Plus, it could help you save on homeowner’s insurance! Check out our packages and call now for a free quote at 1-855-518-4458 and talk with an expert about a customized package to keep your home safe and secure.