Overall crime rates

The rate of police-reported crimes dropped substantially during the initial lockdown period of March to June 2020. Notable decreases included 28% in assaults, 22% in impaired driving, 19% in auto thefts and 12% in weapons offences.1 While most types of crime decreased during the pandemic, there was a 130% increase in commercial break-ins compared to pre-pandemic levels, and 17 homicides in Hamilton in 2020, the highest number in over 30 years.2

Perceptions of safety  

National research from Statistics Canada reported on perceptions of safety since the onset of COVID-19.  Compared to pre-pandemic levels, members of Asian and South Asian communities reported a three-fold increase in discriminatory harassment or attacks.  Other visible minority groups (including Black, Arab, and Latin American) also reported a two-fold increase in discriminatory harassment or attacks since the onset of COVID-19.3 A local survey found that while most members of Two-Spirit and LGBTQIA+ communities feel safe in Hamilton’s public places, over 40% felt less safe in religious spaces and settings.  People who were transgender and/or racialized tended to feel less safe than non-transgender and non-racialized respondents in all spaces.4

Domestic and intimate partner violence  

Between April and December 2020, calls to Canada’s Assaulted Women’s Hotline doubled to 71,650 compared with 36,360 for the same period in 2019.5 Local emergency shelters echoed the findings of Shelter Voices,6 a national survey of women’s shelters and emergency services. It found the pandemic created substantial challenges due to women’s concern about COVID-19 infection in shelters and increased risks of violence because partners were home more often.  Emergency calls to Hamilton Police Services related to domestic abuse increased 4.4% in 2020 when compared with 2019.7

Road, cycling, and pedestrian safety

There were 7,350 motor vehicle collisions in 2020, down 37% from 11,593 in 2019.  The number of injuries resulting from these collisions dropped to 1,039 with 15 fatalities in 2020, from 1,270 and 17 fatalities in 2019.  In 2020 there were 100 collisions involving bicycles that resulted in injuries, similar to 2019 when there were 97. There were no fatalities either year.  In 2020, there were 180 collisions involving pedestrians, down from 218 in 2019. There were four pedestrian fatalities in 2020, down from six in 2019.8

Find detailed and up to date information on collision information at the Vision Zero dashboard.

[1] Hamilton Police Service (May 2020).  Hamilton crime trends during COVID-19.  Accessed May 2021. 
[2] Hamilton Police Service (2021).  Annual operating budget report
[3] Statistics Canada (2021).  Perceptions of safety among groups designated as visible minorities during COVID-19. 
[4] Mills, S., Dion, M., Thompson-Blum, D., Borst, C., Diemart, J. (2019).  Mapping the Void:  Two-Spirit and LGBTQ Experiences in Hamilton
[5] Canada’s Assaulted Women’s Hotline, COVID-19 Report.
[6] Shelter Voices, National Survey.
[7] Hamilton Police Service (2021).  Annual operating budget report
[8] Hamilton Police Service (2021).  Year End – Traffic Summary.  Presented April 2021.