Crime Severity Index
The Crime Severity Index (CSI) measures changes in the seriousness of police-reported crime from year to year. It covers all Criminal Code violations, including traffic. The severity of each criminal offence is weighted based on actual sentences handed down by the courts. The higher the CSI value, the higher the overall crime severity in a jurisdiction.
Methods and Limitations:
The crime severity index is calculated using Incident-based Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR2) data. For the period from 1998 to 2017 Incident-based UCR2 data are not available for all respondents. In order to report this level of detail for police services still reporting to the Aggregate Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR) over this time, a process of imputation was applied to derive counts for violations that do not exist on their own in the aggregate survey. For approximately 80% of the aggregate offence codes, there is a 1:1 mapping with a new incident-based violation code. For violations where this was not the case, such as the aggregate other Criminal Code category, it was necessary to estimate (impute) this figure using the distribution of other Criminal Code offences from existing Incident-based UCR2 respondents.
During the production of each year’s crime statistics, data from the previous year are revised to reflect any updates or changes that have been received from the police services.
The methodology for calculating census metropolitan area (CMA) populations was modified in 2003. Starting in 1996, the populations for CMAs have been adjusted to reflect the actual policing boundaries within the CMA and do not reflect the official Statistics Canada population for these CMAs. CMA data are included within province-level data.
Police reported statistics may be affected by differences in the way police services deal with minor offences. In some instances, police or municipalities might chose to deal with some minor offences using municipal by-laws or provincial provisions rather than Criminal Code provisions. Counts are based on the most serious violation in the incident.
In January 2018, the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey (UCR) definitions of “founded” and “unfounded” criminal incidents were updated to reflect a more victim-centred approach for recording crimes that consider the complexities of certain offences such as sexual assault, family violence and intimate partner violence. Under the new reporting standards, specific offences may be more likely reported by police as founded rather than unfounded (or unsubstantiated), which would exclude them from police-reported crime rates and crime severity indices. Data for 2019 represent the first complete year of UCR data collected under the new reporting standards. As a result, for selected violations and police services, the actual proportion of incidents in 2019 that were classified as “not cleared” has increased. Use caution when comparing these data with prior years.
A high crime rate or Crime Severity Index (CSI) may indicate that a municipality is a geographical area that provides commercial business, human or public services, or entertainment for many people who reside outside, as well as inside, the municipality. As a result, these municipalities may have large part-time or temporary populations which are excluded from both their population bases and their crime rate and CSI calculations.
Crime Severity Index in the Sustainable Development Goals
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16. Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies
Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals is dedicated to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels.