Pictured above: Patrol officers and Detectives work
together to locate a missing person in Kitchener.
Crime Trends in Waterloo Region: 2014
As shown in the 2014 WRPS Criminal Offence Summary, in Waterloo Region Total Criminal Code Violations (excluding traffic) were down by 0.4% in 2014 compared to 2013. Contributing to this trend were decreases in Violent Crime (-8.9 %) and in Property Crime (-0.3%), despite Other Criminal Code Offences increasing 7%.
Violent Crime, or Crimes Against The Person, declined by 8.9% in Waterloo Region in 2014. Driving this decline were fewer Violations Causing Death (-72.7%), fewer Assaults (-8.5%), and fewer Other Violations Involving Violence or the Threat of Violence (-17.2%). There were fewer Violations Causing Death this year on the tails of an anomaly year in 2013, but there were more Attempted Murders (up 5 counts, totaling 7). Overall, there were also 19.1% more Sexual Violations (e.g. Sexual Assault Level 1 up 14.7%), and 17.1% more Violations Resulting in the Deprivation of Freedom (e.g. Forcible Confinement up 17.4%).
In the Assault category, Assaults Level 1, 2 and 3 combined for 182 fewer counts. Criminal Negligence Causing Bodily Harm was reduced to zero counts. In the Other Violations Involving Violence category, Robbery was down 22.9%, Criminal Harassment was down 25.9%, and Indecent/Harassing Telephone Calls were down 27%. Extortion violations saw an increase in 2014 with 19 additional counts and a percentage increase of 146.2%. Investigators attribute this to online photo sharing. With increasing social media activity, police are seeing more situations where an individual acquires compromising photos of someone, and then tries to use them against the subject for some kind of gain.
Property Crime, considered as non-violent, declined in Waterloo Region (-0.3%). Several property crimes recorded decreases, including Break and Enter and Theft $5,000 or Under from a Motor Vehicle (each down over 100 counts, -5.1% and -3.7% respectively). Theft $5,000 or Under was down over 500 counts, equivalent to a -13.9% decrease. However, Shoplifting $5,000 or Under was up over 300 counts (equivalent to a 17% increase), and Possession of Stolen Goods $5,000 and Under was up by over 100 counts (a 7.2% rise).
Three other property crimes saw increases in 2014, namely Identity Theft (up 105.3%), Identity Fraud (up 49.2%), and Fraud (up 8.4%). This year, there was a major investigation into identity fraud and theft which uncovered a large number of victims and ended with a suspect being arrested. This type of crime is changing. Organized crime is turning more towards the Internet as a vehicle to commit a vast array of fraud. The Internet also makes it possible for crime groups from other countries to target potential victims in North America. In addition, there have been more instances of applying for online loans with compromised identity information. Officers are working with businesses to change their online loan application processes.
Other Criminal Code Violations, also considered as non-violent, were 7% higher in 2014. Of note, Failure to Attend Court saw the highest percentage increase (29.4%), whereas Breach of Probation and Fail to Comply with Conditions saw some noticeable increases in their counts in 2014 (up 197 and 170 respectively). Conversely, Counterfeiting Currency has gone down by 32.2%, which investigators attribute to the polymers used to make Canadian currency.
Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) offences experienced a 2.2% increase. Investigators are finding less marihuana and cocaine at the street level, but more synthetic drugs such as “Crystal Meth” and “Ecstasy”. Due to increases in arrests, seizures, and information about methamphetamines in the Region, an undercover project was initiated in 2014, leading to arrests for possession and trafficking of methamphetamines. As a result, Possession of Crystal Meth is up over 100 counts (equivalent to a 381.8% increase), Ecstasy is up by 12 counts (equivalent to a 171.4% increase), and Trafficking Crystal Meth violations increased by 330.8%. Contrary to the overall trend, the Production and Possession violations related to cannabis decreased. This is due in part due to changes in legislation surrounding Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations and appeals that were before the court. Refocusing police resources can also help explain the decrease in Trafficking Cocaine in 2014, as there were no specific projects this year as compared to 2013 when there were two wiretap investigations which led to multiple arrests and charges.
Other Federal Statute Violations, specifically Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA) offences, were down by 11.1% in Waterloo Region in 2014. This could be due to less youth criminal activity, or less reporting to police from youth and/or schools. Diversion also plays a significant role in the total number of YCJA offences.
Criminal Code Traffic Violations in Waterloo Region, experienced an overall decrease (-20.2%) in 2014, but Impaired Operation/Related Violations are up slightly (1.5%). Strategic enforcement, the encouragement of citizen reporting, and public education will continue.
The WRPS 2014 Criminal Offence Summary is based on a count of all UCR code violations which are reported within the year. The results will differ slightly from Statistics Canada’s numbers due to the different counting methodology. WRPS prepares this summary as a more thorough representation of the complexity of crime. Because UCR codes may be modified and/or cleared after the incident occurred and are updated accordingly, the WRPS Criminal Offence Summary re-states the previous years’ numbers for accuracy. Click the button below to view the entire spreadsheet.