SafetyViolent Crime Rate
Overall crime rates in the Hamilton CMA, Ontario, and Canada have been declining for the last two decades. The violent crime rate in Hamilton is currently 34% lower than in 2006 and had been falling steadily until 2016 when it rose by nearly 20% to 767 incidents/100,000 people ﹘ still down considerably from 1,434 incidents/100,000 people in 2000. The violent crime rate in the Hamilton CMA is similar to provincial rates (790) and lower than the national rate for violent crimes (1,052)1.
The number of Hamilton (city, not CMA) youth (ages 12-17) involved in all crimes dropped to 1,529 in 2017 after having risen slightly in 2016 to 1,595. With the exception of 2016, the number of youth involved in crime has fallen each year since 2009, mirroring the national trend. The number of youth involved in violent crimes had seen an 18% increase between 2015 and 2016, but fell in 2017 by 7% to 473 from 510 in 20162.
SafetyProperty Crime Rates
The property crime rate for the Hamilton CMA7 in 2016 was 2,302 incidents/100,000 people, down from 2015 when it was 2,394 incidents/100,000 people. Similar to the overall crime rates, the property crime rate has been dropping over the past decade: in 2006, it was 3,882 incidents/100,000 people. Hamilton’s rate is similar to the provincial average (2,287), and lower than the national average (3,220)8.
SafetyRoad and Pedestrian Safety
In 2017, there were 10,124 motor vehicle collisions ﹘ the most in the last seven years. Over 1,360 collisions resulted in injury, including 16 fatalities ﹘ two more than in the previous year. In 2016, police reported 279 pedestrian collisions, resulting in 257 with injuries and four fatalities, the highest number of injuries since the 293 reported in 2007. Bicycle collisions also increased to 179 in 2016, the highest since amalgamation, but there were no fatalities. Since 2011, there have been three cyclist fatalities3.
A 2014 report by the Social Planning and Research Council found that Hamilton pedestrians had a 42% higher risk of injury than Ontario average, and Hamilton cyclists faced an 81% higher risk of injury4.
SafetyPolice-Reported Hate/Bias Crimes
Hamilton police provide annual information on hate/bias crimes and hate/bias incidents. Hate/bias crimes are those where a criminal offence has been committed based on bias or prejudice, while hate/bias incidents do not involve a criminal offence.
The total number of police-reported hate/bias incidents rose by 18% to 136 in 2017 from 115 in 2016, still well below the 180 total incidents in 2011. The number of hate/bias crimes fell from 15 in 2016 to 5 in 2017 ﹘ the lowest level in over a decade ﹘ and much lower than the 54 crimes in 2011. Incidents are most often based on racial bias (49%, with the Black community the target of two-thirds of the incidents), religion (30%, primarily against members of Jewish and Muslim religions), and sexual orientation (20%).
SafetyPolice-Reported Domestic Violence
In 2014, the most recent data available, there were 6,499 calls to police related to domestic violence, similar to 6,430 calls in 2011, but resulting in more charges being laid: 1,207 in 2014 compared to 1,090 in 2011. Men were charged in 83% of cases, women in 12%, and dual charges in 4%5.
SafetyOccupancy Rates: Violence Against Women Shelters
There are four Violence Against Women shelters in Hamilton that offer emergency assistance specifically for women fleeing abusive relationships. As the following chart shows, these shelters have been at or over capacity for the last five years6. A 100% occupancy rate means all the available beds were full over the course of the year. In certain cases, shelters will make arrangements to exceed capacity (e.g. cots on floor).
For both the Hamilton Children’s Aid Society and the Hamilton Catholic Children’s Aid Society, the number of children in care has been decreasing over the last decade. As of March 2017, the Catholic Children’s Aid Society reported 245 youth in care, down from 262 last year and from 337 in 20079. For the Children’s Aid Society, there was a slight uptick to 543 youth in care in 2017, an increase of 18 youth from March 2016, but down from 718 in March 200710.
The Children’s Aid Society provides support to just over 1,200 families annually. The Catholic Children’s Aid Society provides support to 650-700 families annually.
1 Statistics Canada, 2017. Police-reported crime statistics in 2016.
2 Hamilton Police Service, 2018. Year-end youth crime report 2017. Appended to Hamilton Police Services Board April meeting agenda.
3 Hamilton Police Services 2018. Year-end report: Traffic statistics – 2017. Appended to Hamilton Police Services Board March 2018 agenda.
4 Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton, 2014. Hamilton’s Risky Streets.
5 Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton, 2016. Violence against women services.
6 Ministry of Community and Social Services. Data by special request.
7 Includes Burlington and Grimsby.
8 Statistics Canada, 2017. Police-reported crime statistics in 2016.
9 Catholic Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton. Data by special request.
10 Children’s Aid Society of Hamilton. Data by special request.