If you have neither the facts nor the law, pound the table - Macleans.ca

If you have neither the facts nor the law, pound the table

Stockwell Day on the justice system’s failure to punish unreported crimes


Stockwell Day held a press conference Tuesday to talk about the economy and the belt-tightening efforts that are apparently underway in Ottawa. Somehow, this got derailed into a discussion about crime rates—both real and imagined. Witness the rhetorical carnage that results when facts clash with ideology:

The crime rate per thousand, though it has gone down, thankfully, and I think some of that is because of the large amount of resources we’ve put into some areas of preventative criminal justice issues — for instance, targeting individuals at risk, families at risk, communities at risk — there’s been a lot of resources put into preventative programs there.  When you still go back and do crime rate comparisons going back even as much as 40 years, you still see that our crimes per thousand of population are very high, still much higher than they were back as reported in the ‘60s.

Here, in a nutshell, is the bind in which the government finds itself when proposing stiffer sentences at the same time as crime rates are dropping. The harsher sentences have to be justified: “We’re very concerned about the increase in the amount of unreported crimes that surveys clearly show are happening.” But there’s credit to be taken for the very decline that threatens to make those stiffer sentences anachonistic: “I think some of that is because of the large amount of resources we’ve put into some areas of preventative criminal justice issues.”

The solution, it appears, is to be sufficiently vague in recalling the crime rate of days past: “…do crime rate comparisons going back even as much as 40 years, you still see that our crimes per thousand of population are very high, still much higher than they were back as reported in the ‘60s.” Well, if we take murder for example, it’s not clear that’s true. The homicide rate, as the Ottawa Citizen‘s Glen McGregor has helpfully put into a chart, is in fact roughly the same as it was 40 years ago, and is down sharply from its mid-70s peak.

But then, as Day points out, that’s the problem with crime data—it’s based on voluntary (*ahem*) reports :

One statistic of many that concerns us is the amount of crimes that go unreported.  For whatever reasons, people simply are not reporting.  Those numbers are alarming and it shows that we can’t take a liberal view to crime which is that it’s – some would suggest that it’s barely happening at all.  We still have situations, too many situations of criminal activity that are alarming to our citizens and we intend to continue to deal with that.

It was Sun Media‘s David Akin who prompted the final bait-and-switch when he pointedly asked: “Is that like rape or assault or murder? Canadians are saying, ‘No, don’t worry about it, it’s okay?'[…]”

[…] David, in fairness, you’re taking it to the extreme, but certain crimes are unreported and that does have an effect vis-à-vis reported crime and we know that there are still serious criminal justice issues.  As I said, our emphasis on serious, repeat violent offenders, identity theft, some of the types of monetary crime, bank card theft and fraud where people lose their life savings, these type of crimes are very serious.  In the past we think that sentences have not been serious enough, that there’s been too much leeway and discretion in some cases left in the hands of judiciary where we want to see mandatory sentencing, where people who do commit these crimes — I itemized one type of crime for you in terms of the home invasions — where we think there should be some areas of mandatory sentencing to send the signal that we want our citizens protected and that we don’t think serious crime should be treated lightly.

So, let us follow the logic here: The problem with the current system is that it doesn’t punish crimes we’re not entirely sure are happening severely enough. That’s why the crime rate is so high, even though it’s not, but it would be if people reported all the crimes that are taking place.

(These unreported criminals may in fact be the same people whose continued freedom threatens the safety of Tony Clement’s anti-census Twitter friends Julius, Adam, Patrick, Paul, and Chris.)

For the record, according to our their Kady O’Malley (via an aide in Justice Minister Rob Nicholson’s office), the data upon which Day’s contentions about unreported crime are based come from StatsCan’s 2004 General Social Survey. I’m still trying to square Day’s alarm over six-year-old crime stats with this statement, made at the exact same press conference, regarding the census:

When you collect data on a five-year census, how reliable is it when it’s first one year old and then it’s two years old and then before the next census comes around you’re dealing with data that may be five years old which of course is untenable in today’s information age.

Martin posted about this issue last week, when he noted one of the newest Conservative senators had begun expressing reservations about crime stats that don’t conform to gut feelings. I guess it’s a talking point now.


If you have neither the facts nor the law, pound the table

  1. Stock….in or out of a wetsuit….is always underwater.

    • And way in over his head …

      • And all wet.

    • And this guy is by far the best Minister Harper has at his Cabinet table…

    • Hey, that's an intelligent post!

    • If only it were so.

      Let's take a look at the rates of crime actually reported to police, via the Crime Victimization Survey:

      1991 – 42% of crimes were reported to police.
      1999 – 37% of crimes were reported to police.
      2004 – 34% of crimes were reported to police.

      As crime rates drop, the report of crime to police has also declined.

      Does anyone here REALLY think this is coincidental? Really?

      • So we'll put the same question to you as Akin put to Day:
        “Is that like rape or assault or murder? Canadians are saying, ‘No, don't worry about it, it's okay?'

        • As a matter of fact, there are some crimes we know frequently go unreported.

          Namely, sexual assault and criminal harassment.

          66% of criminal harassments tend to go unreported.
          Likewise, up to 71% of sexual assaults go unreported.

          Now, consider this: under the 2-for-1 sentencing provision, it's common for criminals to walk right out of a courtroom after receiving in some cases up to a 3-for-1 credit for time served. Free to immediately retaliate against the complainant.

          It's no wonder that so many crimes go unreported — and not just petty crimes, either.

          • Consider this: most people are unaware of the sentencing provision.

          • Most people are aware of the worrying frequency with which criminals end up serving little to no time after being convicted, even for serious offences.

  2. what does one say… where does one start….


  3. Nice to see an extremist twit get officially called on one the dumb arguments they keep trying to make.

  4. Barking mad, the lot of them. Incompetence at its best.

    This 'Ship of Fools' is listing badly and those still aboard will go down with it.

  5. I've seen the "liberal view" quote also written as "Liberal view". Will Day be clarifying?

    • He clams Liberals are saying that there is no crime. He didn't offer a direct quote…

    • Mark Holland has clearly been clarifying that enough FOR Stockwell.

  6. It would be nice if Con Ministers were prepared to argue their case instead of coming across stupefied all the time.

    I think Stockwell Day was trying to talk about these two trends Lorrie Goldstein often writes about.

    "I can now tell you there were 920 violent crimes reported to police per 100,000 population in Canada in 2009.

    The good news is that's a slight drop from the 936 violent crimes reported per 100,000 in 2008.

    The bad news is it means our violent crime rate remains more than 300% higher than what it was when comparable statistics first started being kept in 1962.

    At that time, our violent crime rate was 221 incidents per 100,000 of population.

    That means last year's violent crime rate of 920 incidents per 100,000 was 316% higher than in 1962." The Sun, Aug 1, 2010

    "Statistics Canada says this fall it will release 2009 crime victimization data from the General Social Survey, reported once every five years.

    Here's what that data indicated when it was last reported, using information compiled up to 2004.

    First, progressively fewer Canadians who were crime victims reported those crimes to police — only 34% in 2004 compared to 37% in 1999.

    Second, an estimated 92% of sexual assaults were never reported to police, nor 46% of break-ins, 51% of motor vehicle and parts thefts, 61% of physical assaults and 54% of robberies.

    As for the “crime is going down” claim, here's the reality.

    Crime rates rose dramatically through the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, then peaked and started to fall slowly in the early 1990s across North America.

    No one knows why." The Sun, July 25, 2010

    • re, No one knows why. Levitt's hypothesis is because of abortions.

      • I'm not sure if this applies to Canada, though, it looks like we had a slow ramp-up in the number of abortions.

        • Lott's hypothesis is in spite of abortions. (open access)

        • thanks

        • It looks like only 1 of the tables was flawed. And here is levitt's response taking into account Foote's critique, and generating a new table. Sailor is active in the comments. I think some of the stronger arguments are the mobility between different states, and girls travelling to different states for abortions. But this debate is 5 years old. I'm sure the answer is out there.
          Sailor seems unhinged.

    • We agree on your first sentence – as for the rest, not so much. A "reporting rate" decrease of 3% over 5 years seems not to be overly "alarming".

      More to the point, however, is the question of how these unreported crimes support the need for more prison spaces. O, I know, let's make not reporting a crime a crime – and since that trend is going up, we will fill up those spaces in no time!

      • Failure to do so will result in fine or incarceration.

        • I'd like to report bill_y. That sh*t you sold me couldn't get a fly high.

      • Of course you agree with the first sentence. Everything else in that comment addresses facts you don't want to acknowledge.

        Let me help you assemble this little puzzle, and we'll see if we can get you to leave the red-tinted glasses behind.

        Canadians have seen a disturbing number of criminals turned loose on 2-for-1 credits — to the extent that many people have judged reporting a crime to the police, and going through the hassle of testifying in court, to not be worth it — courts will simply slap the perp on the wrists and turn them loose.

        The 2-for-1 credit was justified on th basis of poor prison conditions, including overcrowding.

        Now that the 2-for-1 credit has been receded to a 1.5-for-1 credit — and we'll be working on abolishing it altogether — the government must take steps to improve prison conditions.

        If overcrowding is the issue, more prisons are needed.

        Not to mention that some of Canada's prisons are currently up to 40 years old, and are in need of replacement. In other cases, deferred maintanance has exacerbated the need to replace prisons that are newer.

        So, let's review:

        -First off, Stockwell is right about the deceptiveness of crime rates.
        -Stockwell is right about the declining number of crimes repoted to police
        -Overcrowding in prisons has been raised as an issue by numerous organizations
        -Prison conditions have been cited as justification for the 2-for-1 credit that has de-motivated so many Canadians from reporting crimes.

        "If you have neither the facts nor the law, pound the table"

        You folks may not have the facts, but (for now) you seem to have the law. I'm not sure why you feel such a need to pound the table.

        • Then why are the conservatives closing the prision farms?

          • Because they don't want prisoners to learn anything, and they only want to punish. They don't really believe in redemption.

    • Second, an estimated 92% of sexual assaults were never reported to police, nor 46% of break-ins, 51% of motor vehicle and parts thefts, 61% of physical assaults and 54% of robberies.

      I guess the question is: How do these estimates compare to previous estimates?

      • You guess the question; I question the guess.

    • Okay, let's assume for the moment that everything you said there is bang on. Now, how does having more prisons, having mandatory jail times, having a serious face and a stern demeanour INCREASE THE CRIMES REPORTED?

      • People will be more likely to report crimes if they think that something is going to be done about it. I'd say it's pretty obvious that the reason people don't report crimes is because they know nothing is going to be done about it.

        • So they're robbed, assaulted, raped….and don't report it?

          Reality please.

          • I think you need a dose of reality. You think people report every minor assault, even knowing that the police will do nothing about it? Of course not!

            Do you think every car that's broken into gets reported if nothing is stolen? Definitely not, people pay for the repairs themselves and move on.

            The fact that people don't have enough confidence in the police and courts to do anything about these crimes is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed.

          • It has absolutely nothing to do with confidence in the police. It has quite a bit to do with the aggravation to the victim's life not being worth the minor sexual assault or bit of stuff stolen. If it was major sexual assault, I imagine (and here I don't speak from experience) there could be shame involved (don't want everyone to know). If the person is a family member or something, I imagine there are a whole host of dynamics to consider–will it make an already bad life worse for someone you care about? Will anyone believe you?

          • It has more to do with the confidence people have that the police have the resources to investigate minor crimes. People know that small thefts and minor assaults simply can not be investigated, so they don't bother reporting them. That is a problem.

          • What does any of that have to do with building more maximum security prisons?

          • If there are more prison spaces available, judges can sentence more people to jail when appropriate, rather than probation, house-arrest, etc.

          • You really think that spending, what, $87,000/yr to incarcerate petty criminals is a fruitful use of taxpayer money?

            You live in a very odd world.

            (and yes, my car was recently broken into, they stole nothing of worth. I did report it to the police, but I gotta tell you – the fact that they likely will never find the culprit isn't what grinds my gears…it's that my insurance, privately owned by the way, wouldn't cover a cent of the $250 it cost to replace my window)

          • I'm not saying we should incarcerate petty criminals. I'm saying we should incarcerate criminals that the law (and thus, society) has dictated is are worthy of incarceration.

            And would you not concede that the next time your car is broken into or vandalized in some minor way, that you will be less likely to report it to the police considering you now know that they will do nothing about it, and there isn't even reason to do so for insurance purposes? I mean, you'd really just be wasting everybody's time then, wouldn't you?

          • We do still incarcerate violent criminals in this country right? I didn't miss some big announcement by the Liberals did I?

            Oh no, I'll still report it. Why not? I just won't expect two detectives to do extensive undercover work to crack the case of the broken car window.

          • Well I suppose if you report it or not is kinda irrelevant considering we both acknowledge nothing will be done about it.

            And yes, we do still incarcerate some violent criminals in this country, but we certainly don't incarcerate every person who commits serious crimes. White-collar crime, domestic abuse, drug dealers, etc. increasingly receive house-arrest, probation, or are sentenced to time served.

          • Interesting…that you listed domestic abuse in there… I assume then that you are for the long gun registry? Since long guns are used in 72% of fire arm spousal homicides. Furthermore, the major determining factor for violence against women is their economic independance… but I assume you're probably against any attempts to help women in poverty, like universal childcare and adequate social housing.

          • Here's a fun exercise:

            Name one single case in which the long gun registry helped prevent a murder or domestic assault.

          • Here's another one

            Name me one person who was murdered by their spouse using a long gun that was on the register?

          • This I can actually answer:

            There was a case last year where a man was planning to murder his spouse with a registered long gun.

            The murder was prevented by law enforcement, but the long gun registry was never involved. The mam was actually stopped after acting erratically during a routine traffic stop.

          • really?
            Details would be great, it's not that I'm skeptical, I'm intrigued.

            Also doesn't really answer the question does it? It's still ….. zero.

          • I read about this months ago. I don't remember the names, I wouldn't be able to find the story again if I tried — or at least I don't expect I would.

            It DOES answer your question — just not in the form you desired.

          • Not really nobody was murdered.

          • Only because of the actions of police.

            The perpetrator planned to murder his spouse with a registered long gun — but the registry had nothing to do with averting that murder.

            These are the salient details.

          • The salient details are no murder was committed unless we have a "minority report" situation happening.
            There's many a thing that could have happened resulting in no murder if the police hadn't pulled the dude over.
            Stockwell wants to jail criminals that aren't reported and it appears you want to use crimes that weren't committed as evidence of a failure to prevent that crime in the first place.
            Strange indeed.

          • …Are you serious?

            You couldn't POSSIBLY be serious.

            You can argue that there are many things that COULD have prevented this man from murdering his wife.

            The salient detail — the one grounded in reality — will remain that it was the involvement of police that ultimately accomplished this end.

            This is not the sci-fi aisle of the video store. This is not a Tom Cruise scientology seminar. This is reality.

            The REALITY is that Stockwell Day is right. There IS an alarming number of crimes that go unreported to police.

            The REALITY is that the left-wing ideological approach to crime built disincentives to reporting crime into Canada's criminal justice system.

            The REALITY is that this government is acting to eliminate them.

            You insist on dwelling in a world of hypotheticals wherein maybe SOMETHING, SOMEWHERE will line up in support of your ideology.

            Unfortunately for you, the facts never do. They never have, and there's no reason to expect that they ever will.

          • Really, project much?
            No murder, yes a possibility of a murder, but no murder in REALITY.
            So the REALITY of the true answer to my original question is; NO you cannot provide one example of a murder that has been committed in REALITY by a weapon that was on the long gun register.

            Your argumentation was actually based on ..

            "….. dwelling in a world of hypotheticals wherein maybe SOMETHING, SOMEWHERE will line up in support of your ideology."

          • It's evident at this point that you're confused about what camp you're arguing from.

            You are clearly not in favour of reevaluating Canadian criminal justice practices in order to determine how unreported crimes can be addressed.

            Yet you're also willing to bend over backward in order to try to argue against the long gun registry.

            You are also wrong — it's illegal to plan to kill someone.

            If one is caught en route to commit that murder, with the weapon nonetheless — all the more damning.

            You're celarly bending over backward to try to score points on this one.

            Too bad you've failed so badly.

          • I never questioned the illegality of planning to commit murder, that is something you just brought up.

            I never defended the long gun registry, I asked a question that I thought was more pertinent to the original discussion than your question.

            You ignored the question and used a possible, but not yet committed murder as proof that the gun registry fails to prevent murder. (This was very much in the vein of Stockwell using unreported crimes as an excuse for building prisons.)

            I never said anything about increasing the efficiency at which crimes are reported.

            Then you assumed that I was trying to score points. Why? I don't know you, what purpose would it serve?

          • It's very clear at this point that you've only been interested in scoring poitns. It's also very clear at this poitn that you've failed.

            Now you're just desperately trying to grind out something you can call a victory.

            It's pathetic and you need to stop.

            What the story here actually demonstrates is that the long gun registry not only fails to prevent gun violence, but it isn't even a factor when gun violence is prevented.

            That is reality. Your undiginified attempts at aimless point-scoring don't change it.

          • I think you are not well, or are incapable of actually following a discussion.
            I had no idea, please forgive me.

          • That's an odd statement coming from someone incapable of actually HAVING a discussion.

          • I dunno. When the police go in prepared for a gun because of the long gun registry, do they explicitly note that fact anywhere?

            And when they don't expect a gun, as in Mayerthorpe, well, we all ended up noting that.

          • Pump the brakes.

            The RCMP didn't respond to the Roszko call in Mayerthorpe not expecting a gun. Rather, they had every reason in the world to expect a gun, registry or no registry.

            They responded to that call not expecting a perp to be on the premises.

            By the way, Roszko did NOT kill those mounties with a long gun, as Antonia Zerbisias wrote in the Toronto Star. He killed them with an assault rifle — classified as a restricted/prohibited weapon.

          • Even though he did have a registered long gun in his possession, which he forcefully borrowed from one of his neighbours.

          • Which, unfortuantely for you, STILL undermines your argument, as all the facts do.

            After all, the registration of the weapon didn't do anything to prevent him from stealing it, and certainly wouldn't have prevented him from using it.

          • A few points. First, the broken window theory of policing suggests getting tough on petty crimes precisely because of the role they play in the lifecycle of a criminal. People do not wake up one day and think – hey, I'll become a crack dealer. Demonstrating toughness and enforcement on less serious offenses can deter people from becoming criminals later. The theory has its supporters and doesn't come out of nowhere (it has arguably been a huge success in New York City, for instance).

            Secondly, non-reporting of crimes is a big deal in the alienated and marginalized communities that are most likely to be the victims of crime. A belief that reporting will not result in action is part of that, although strained relationships are another and probably bigger cause. If you ever get a chance to see a talk by Bill Blair, I advise that you attend. His story of the initial reception he got in the Jarvis neighbourhood (ie. a chilly one), and how he responded to that is a great lesson.

          • Interesting. the same group that is marginalized and moved to accept some crimes as a reality and thus not report them, will be under-reported through census thanks to Stockwell Day's bossman's radical fear of someone finding out about his makeup lady's salary.

          • Fact.

          • According to Dan Gardner, the Broken Windows strategy has been oversimplified. It isn't just about arresting the person that broke the window, it's also about fixing the window to remove 'environmental cues' that can send the area into a further downward spiral. I can buy this – graffiti tags multiply like rabbits when they aren't painted over. http://www.dangardner.ca/Colnov2608.html

          • It used to be legally impossible to charge someone with raping their wife. For example.

            Sexual crimes are grossly under-reported. Even major ones.

          • And when they are reported, the victim can expect her/his past sexual behaviour to be dragged out in court in far more detail than that of the perpetrator.

            Something I heard the other day, but have not researched to confirm it: With the advent of no-fault divorce, there was no change in the number of women killed by their husbands. However, there was a drop in the number of men killed by their wives.

          • If it's assault of course the police will do something about it. I don't know why people would break into a car without taking something….but you appear to have these little fantasies about non-crimes being non-reported….which is a crime apparently

            Confidence in the police in fine…..yelling at kids on your lawn is just silly.

          • I know of at least 3 assaults in the last year (friends/acquaintances) where the police simply said there was nothing they could do, because they had no leads. They're not going to DNA test the scene, etc for assaults, they simply can't.

            And people break into cars to steal them, and are often unsuccessful leaving just a badly damaged car behind, or don't find any items in the car to steal. All you need to do is look at areas that have mandatory immobilizers in vehicles… thefts go down, break-ins w/o theft go waaaaaaaay up. It's still a crime, and should still be treated as such.

          • so I have at least tried to read your voluminous posts that seem to add up to nothing, sour guy

            you've been asked this before but you never answer:
            how does building more prisons and jacking up sentences affect the way the police might investigate the assaults on your friends?

          • Maybe its a matter of lead-time.

            It takes a while to build those prisons, what with proposals, regulatory assessments, tendering, design, construction, etc. It will probably be several years before any one of them is open for business.

            In the meantime, I would expect this government to address the "supply side" for the prisons, things like more policing, more invasive surveillance, stricter laws, etc, all of which could be done in a shorter lead time than the prisons. Once the wave of more and longer incarceration starts, the prisons should be ready.

            As an aside, it would be interesting to see how engaged the 'for-profit' prison lobby is on matters of tougher laws, sentencing, etc . . . surely they would want to see a more predictable stream of inmates to ensure revenue streams?

          • Liar. You don't have any friends.

          • That was very clever for a 3 year old. The other kids in kindergarten must be very impressed with you.

          • I may be in kindergarten but at least I'm not some weird little man pathologically posting comments in a futile attempt to paper over the pathetic void at the centre of his lonely existence.

            You make me feel sad.

            Ha! Ha!!

          • I know you are but what am I?

            P.S. I'm glad I make you sad, wouldn't want to cause you any joy.

          • The General Social Survey on Victimization is quite specific about the reasons why crimes are not reported. The major reason is that they did not consider the incident important enough. It should be pointed out that violent crimes, even unreported ones, are on the decrease, and people feel safer and are more satisfied with police and with the courts (all according to this survey). While serious crimes, reported and unreported, are on the decrease, there is an increase in the loss or theft of low-value items or unsuccessful attempted thefts.

            The problem with victimization and confidence in police varies enormously by region and ethnic group. Alberta's rate is three times worse than Quebec's and victimization among natives and low income earners are also several times higher than the average. There are specific problems that require attention, but in general only a small minority believe that crime is rising.

            Also in the survey, people have a generally good opinion of how the prison system works, except that manyy believe it is not doing a good job of rehabilitation. But even that satisfaction rate is has improved greatly between 1994 and 2004.

          • The fact that people think that certain crimes aren't important enough to report is a problem in itself. Society's apathy towards smaller crimes will eventually lead toward apathy toward worse crimes.

            And while we'll all agree that it's great that the crime-rate is trickling down, shouldn't we be more concerned about how to maximize that downtrend, rather than simply being satisfied that it's dropping? And using 1994 as a baseline is kinda arbitrary. I'd say that our goals should be to decrease the crime-rate to an all-time low, and I'd like to think that most would agree with me on that.

          • No smaller crime apathy won't lead to apathy towards worse crimes. It's the opposite. I wasn't killed, I wasn't raped. I had my hat stolen, or I had my car stolen. Having my hat stolen doesn't seem to bad. Makes sense. We make experiences relative to the worst possible scenario.

            You expect it to proceed they stole my hat, meh, they stole my car, meh, oh they killed me, meh.

          • So people aren't angry enough at being victimized?

            1)The major factor for crime's downward trend is demographics, largely beyond government control. The little influence governments can have is largely through preventive and rehabilitative efforts. Crime is certainly linked to society, but the mechanism is not apathy. Crime reflects a myriad of factors- social cohesion, poverty, employment, etc.

            2)decreasing crime to new historic lows might be a good goal, but certainly isn't one that should be pursued at all costs. Governing is about priorities, and there soooo many things that need attention in our country before this issue.

        • Non-reporting of sexual assaults has been fairly well studied and I think it's safe to say that the absence of tougher sentences isn't a factor. A focus on comprehensive victim services might increase reporting, but I haven't heard any announcements about that, just an increased focus on incarceration for perpetrators.

          • Increased incarceration for sexual predators certainly won't increase the number of victims out there, though. Less time incarcerated is less time for rehabilitation also, let's remember. I'd rather err on the side of caution, than giving criminals the benefit of the doubt.

          • at what cost? 9 billion?

        • Are you the new CEO of Vague Hunches Canada??

          • President and CEO, thank you very much.

    • The question was specifically about the Harper government engaging in large amounts of NEW spending on NEW prisons, when crime stats are FALLING. The question wasn't, "Should we spend new money on new prisons for crimes committed 40 years ago?"

      Stock then tried to claim that unreported crimes are rising at an alarming rate (as is the presence of invisible leprechauns at press conferences). Unreported crimes however, almost always are so minor as to not warrant victims even bothering to call police. More significantly, unreported crimes NEVER result in arrests or convictions that would require NEW prison spending.

      Stock and Harper have been banging on about this for years. Indeed, it's not fair to jump all over Stock for repeating something Harper has said many times — Don't trust statistics on crime, trust your gut. You're more afraid of crime than you used to be, and we're here to both stoke and respond to your fears.

      Stock is just backing up his boss' crass fear mongering. Your outrage should be directed at the source of the policy and the key player in scheme to separate public policy from facts and needs – Stephen Harper.

      • Stock didn't try to claim anything, he stated a fact. Unreported crimes are rising at an alarming rate. "The Crime Victimization study, part of the broader General Social Survey, found that in 2004 only about 34% of criminal incidents came to the attention of the police, down from 37%in 1999 and 42% in 1993." If you don't think that public apathy towards small crimes is a problem, I would suggest you're our of touch with most Canadians.

        • Unreported crime is about as far from a fact as you can be and still be using language. You get further out and its all grunts and hand gestures.

          • What part of that statistic (fact) do you not understand? Should I mime it for you?

          • Unreported crime is not a fact. It's a small group of people reporting what they had previously not reported in response to a questionaire and then researchers extrapolating their responses. It is not the same as crime statistics based on police investigations.

            We don't even know if all the respondents have the same understanding of sexual assult, violent assult, property crime, fraud, etc …

            It's totally unreliable.

          • You're saying that unreported crime doesn't exist. Then in the following sentence you say it only effects a small group of people. It's also demonstrated that that "small group" of people is growing, and fast. So, which one is it?

          • I'm saying it is not a useful piece of data the same way the murder rate is.

            1) it's based on a survey. Not hard data. Extrapolated data.

            2) Are the respondents lying. Lazy.

            3) Do they understand the questions in the same way (i.e. are the surveys responses internally consistent)

            4) Unreported crimes have not being investigated. Are they actually crimes?

            You are not asking these respondents to count bathrooms. You are asking for their impressions about something they didn't think meaningful enough to report. You are asking people to classify as a crime something they did not consider a crime.

            Therefore the results are inherently problematic. As is any debate that uses unreported crime as a hinge point.

            Stockwell Day was saying Canada's muder rate is not important. Unreported crime is. It's laughable.

          • Well, as for your concerns about the validity of the survey, I have complete faith that Stats Canada is completely capable of completing a survey with statistical accuracy, and of informing the respondents of the proper definitions in said survey. You, evidently don't think they're capable of this. Fair 'nuff I suppose.

            And Stockwell Day was not saying Canada's murder rate is not important. He actually took credit for the falling crime rate, but is saying that unreported property crimes are an ongoing concern. Maybe you should try reading what he actually said, rather than making up 99% of it.

          • He's unreported crime to refute the murder rate going down.

            Unreported property crimes are not an ongoing concern. Why? because they are unreported.

            The tiny number of Canadians who participated in that survey reported something happened to their property which at the time they didn't feel constituted a crime but in retrospect it might have been. All the responses could mean is that by asking the question Statistics Canada has broadened people's definition of property crime.

            I'm beginning to get the impression you don't want to understand.

            I also don't think you understand exactly what that StatCan survey was actually studying.

            It's like conducting a study on happiness. Interesting. Maybe even useful. But your not going to change your core institutions because a survey of 5,000 people declared themselves somewhat happy.

        • 3% over 5 years, with the number of severe crimes declining is "alarming"?

          Goodness, you might want to take your warm milk and bundle up with your DVDs of "Gomer Pyle" before you hear something that actually is of concern.

    • The legal definition, awareness and reporting of what constitutes a 'violent crime' has changed. Thus we have an increase that may be unrelated to the actual activity.

  7. There is more bank card crime today than there was in the 1960s?

    That is truly shocking.

    Next thing he'll be saying there are fewer dinosaurs around today than when humans first walked the earth.


    • (Remember, this is Stockwell Day)

    • But unreported dinosaurs are on the rise.

    • WRONG! Day thinks dinosaurs AND humans walked the Earth AT THE SAME TIME!!!

    • There is more texting while driving then their was in the 1960s. Much of it goes unreported.

  8. A major problem with the Conservative talking points on this is that they're focusing on crime rates at all. Deterrence isn't the only argument to support tougher penalties on certain crimes. Deterrence isn't the only goal, and it certainly isn't the only justification for making changes to the justice system, whether we're talking about sentencing, parole, young offenders, etc.

    • OK, I'll bite – aside from deterrence, what are the remaining valid justifications for the "tough on crime" approach?

      • section 718 of the Criminal Code

        718. The fundamental purpose of sentencing is to contribute, along with crime prevention initiatives, to respect for the law and the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society by imposing just sanctions that have one or more of the following objectives:

        (a) to denounce unlawful conduct;
        (b) to deter the offender and other persons from committing offences;
        (c) to separate offenders from society, where necessary;
        (d) to assist in rehabilitating offenders;
        (e) to provide reparations for harm done to victims or to the community; and
        (f) to promote a sense of responsibility in offenders, and acknowledgment of the harm done to victims and to the community.

        The Conservative Tough on Crime agenda really focuses on a) & f).

        • And c), don't forget about that objective.

          And there are instances where I am very thankful for objective c).

          • Thanks for catching my sloppiness.

            I suspect the real debate that needs to be had is the conflict between c & d. I personally believe we make a mistake by assuming that at least the possibility of d) should be available to all criminals. Once some thresholds are crossed, criminals really should be removed from society for life. That said, if you are going to let somebody out eventually, everything that can be done should be done to ensure the person will be rehabilitated.

          • It wouldn't take much to convince me that there are a (small?) number of criminals that society should not risk trying to rehabilitate, a group for whom objective c) is the most important objective. For that group prisons are required. And I don't even need those prisons to be particularly draconian, just secure.

            But then, if society decides that objective c) is not required I'm not sure why there is still so much focus on prisons; can't we come up with anything better than prisons for criminals who we accept that we will ultimately be prepared to let live amongst us at some future time?

            And what about objective e) – seems to me that we currently don't actually put much effort at all into reparations.

          • But then there is always punishment to fall back on.

      • Sweet sweet revenge.

  9. Tom Flanagan defended Day's failed performance today saying that this isn't Day's area of expertise. Day was Minister of Public Safety for 2 years.

    • yes, saw the inteview, – Tom was cutting "Stock" way too much slack.

    • And the Conservative movement's choice for Prime Minister earlier this decade…

    • Flanagan also said that the media should cut Day some slack because he had run a marathon on the Great Wall of China and he was exhausted.

      Rosemary Barton pointed out that was weeks (even months) ago.

  10. Iggy's been backing the Conservative's 'tough on crime' agenda. The Conservatives fully expect he'll continue his support. The Canadian public is on side as well.

    The liberal/left may not beleive in retributive justice, but by and large the Canadian public does. The Canadian public doesn't see the justice system as primarily a therapeutic endeavour as most left/lib types do. They see it primarily as a way to mete out justice. That is to say, to punish criminals and bring justice to victims of crime.

    • No one is onside with this nonsense.

      Send that talking point back with 'non-operative' written beside it.

      • God knows we do not want to do what the experts recommend – and besides, that whole "retributive justice" thing worked out so well in the States.

      • Wishful thinking. It's more popular than you either realize or want to admit.

        • You're just looking to get the hot dog concession at public hangings.

          • Street food has evolved, you know.

            You can now also get sausage. Spicy ones, too. No humble pie or crow wagons yet, though. Were they available, this event would've been a gold mine.

          • LOL Stockwell as 'Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler'

        • You may be right – but because the idea is popular does not make it the right thing to do – it might even be the most politically easy to implement – but it does not make it right.

        • Just like crime, if I get Stock right.

    • jarrid – if it's all about satisfying punitive urges, why does the government keep trying to talk about rising crime rates? It would be refreshing for them to come out and honestly state they don't give a crap about stats and evidence of crimes, and simply think they have a moral imperative to punish the convicted more harshly.

      • When do you really, really want to make the bastard pay?

        The answer is when you are afraid of the bastard.

        As people age, it is natural that they feel more concerned about their personal security. This is partly because they really are less physically able to defend themselves, but they also have accumulated more experience and more bad experiences. I suspect this plays out if you look at the demographics with purchasing security systems etc. I certainly pay more attention to security now, even though I was at much greater risk in my 20's. (Living in sketchy neighborhoods, associated with too many undesirables etc)

        So if most people are more concerned about their security than they were a decade ago… telling them that their concern is legitimate resonates. When the Conservatives pitch their rising crime story, they are appealing to their gut not their brain.

        • We can slice, dice and analyze the root of popular perceptions of crime and safety a great deal. The nature of modern news is such that crime – from around the globe – makes headlines that attracts attention (whereas peace and non-events tend not to), there's some genuine issues around our legal system's generally perceived legitimacy (some justified, some a result of misinformation/lack of information), and the whole problem of living in large scale, anonymous cities and towns.

          I think there's room to acknowledge a desire for punishment – and in some cases alter the system to reflect it. But at the same time, I think we've abandoned sensible discussions of safety that could be simultaneously taking place. There's good evidence to suggest that there's little relationship between sentencing/jails and enchanced safety. Perhaps if the 'left' could acknowledge that punitive urges do exist and have the same right to be heard and debated as other visions for our society, the right could engage the available research and understandings around societal and psychological conditions that tend to create or dissuade crime (and agree that jails are probably not the most effective means of achieving a safer world).

          The short version is that we ought not dismiss feelings of danger and vulnerability, but at the same time not make them the sole foundation of striving for the safest society possible.

          • This was actually nicely covered in a 1966 TV series in which our almost GG is split into an NDP and a Conservative through an industrial accident. We really do need each other.


        • And that the socalled efforts toward rehabilitation are the daily funnies for most wrongdoers – except for a narrow band of young wrong doers who really do want to go straight. A person who worked in a youth detention jail told me (heasay but from someone who worked there, that some of these kids are hardened criminal at 8 years old, their early years are so monstrous distorted by so-called parents , and they are looking for a slip anytime by staff. They laugh at the psychologists and the do-gooders. i wouild like to know the ratio of relased prisoners to recdividists. They say it is only the dumb ones who get caught.
          For guys like Sutton and the other monsters, we should not have got rid of capital extermination particularly that DNA has entered the evidence toolbox..

      • think they have a moral imperative to punish the convicted more harshly

        Your suggestion could have the added benefit of being easier to defend, which would be worth some credibility "points".

        • I would still disagree with their fundamental vision on this, but I'd respect them a heck of a lot more.

          • Well put. I can't for the life of me understand why Stock Day (or anyone else for that matter) doesn't stand up there and say:

            "Crime is down. That's a good thing. We think we can bring it down even faster. Here's how…"

          • But if Stockie gave you actual arguments which were related in some way to recognizable reality you'd have something to argue against. Which means he'd have to argue against your actual arguments. Which means he might lose the argument. Because his argument isn't based on recognizable reality.

            Crime is going down, not up. Stockweeeel Day says no. It's going up.

      • Well I mean punishment has more than one aim, it is used to punish the guilty, or put another way, to right a wrong (retribution) and it also has the purpose of deterring criminals. If there is a cost to committing a crime or the cost goes up, the putative criminal will think twice. A good example is the relatively recent increase in sentences for drunk driving. Before these increases you'd rarely, if ever, go to jail for committing this offence. Now, I beleive you go to jail after your second offence. Less people drink and drive now than beforfe. And if they do and get caught, it's considered shameful and socially quite bad. Before it was something to laugh about. One of the reasons it's considered shameful and socially unacceptable behaviour is precisely because you now do jail time for it.

        But I agree that it's not just about deterrence. The punishment should fit the crime. Violent crime has to be punished severely certainly as a deterrent but also because it is morally just to do so. Retribution is another word for justice. And justice costs money. So be it. The other option is to live in an unjust society.

        • Criminals don't believe they'll be caught in the first place, so they aren't going to 'think twice'.

          The punishment should fit the crime? Oh…an eye for an eye.

        • Well, the punitive approach hasn't worked in the U.S. Despite that they have higher incarceration rates, they also have higher crime and recidivism rates. Why would we want to duplicate this?

          • A just sentence meted out to a criminal works perfectly.

            Handing out just sentences can work hand in had with other measures, like crime prevention measures. They are hardly mutually exclusive. We can do both. It's not either/or.

            Let the punishment fit the crime. Why do left/lib types have so many problems understanding such a basic and rudimentary concept. What gives?

          • Okay fair point– "with other measures like crime prevention measures." So you admit that the deterrence effect of harsher sentencing is negligible. As far as letting the punishment fit the crime, fine, two-for-one pretrial credit is one thing that can go. Or the Criminal Code could be revised to change sentencing. But what does this have to do with building more max security prisons?

            Lastly, why must you insert the phrase "left/lib types" into every postt you make? It speaks of wanting to adhere to a larger dogma than actually making coherent arguments on whatever topic is at hand.

        • Your initial proposition (punishment has more than one aim) and your expansion of that idea is a bit muddled.

          Essentially by definition punishment is used to punish the guilty, and punishing the guilty is a basic definition of retribution, so I completely follow that thought.

          But you also suggest that punishment (retribution) is equivalent to righting a wrong, and that strikes me as completely backwards. I can support that righting a wrong is the same as making reparations, but retribution, no, those are quite different.

          I'll add that retribution and reparation are not inherently mutually exclusive, although of course in some occasions there is no practical way to have reparations made, and so of those two options we are only left with taking retribution.

          But in my estimation there are also quite a few occasions where some combination of retribution AND reparation is available, yet society forgoes reparations and seems to default to retribution only; that tendency does confuse me.

          • I think the idea that the wrongdoer is being punished is what is behind the word "closure" by many victims family. The best closure is capital punishment which wasn't a great idea when the doer might not be the real doer. DNA has cleared a lot of that up.

          • Ummmm sure, sort of, maybe…..

            I can understand that some family members of murder victims, for example, need a certain minimum punishment to be imposed on the guilty party – if that minimum (which would vary from person to person) is not met then those people will not feel that they have achieved closure. That's fine, but I think that we should not mistake that feeling of closure for making reparations.

            Obviously making reparations is not a practical possibility in the case of some crimes, and so in those cases we resign ourselves to the "next best" outcome, which is retribution. I just have a very tough time believing that any amount of retribution can ever really take the place of a reparation if it were available.

        • so you sound like someone who would support the death penalty even though its proving
          not to work any where else.But again you conservatives d'ont pay attention to stats only if it agree s
          with you

          • Nonsense. The guy never does it again. "Proving not to work?"Work at what? If it is done right the guy/woman is dead every time.

        • In the 1830s, De Tocqueville came to America to study its prisons. He did so because the newly independent United States was considered by many to be a revolutionary country, on the forefront of modern ideas. One area in which the United States was thought to be leading modernity was in its approach to incarceration. The ideal was rehabilitation of the criminal. Shape the prison system to return the individual to productive life. The ideal in the west has always been rehabilitation. To talk about the modern prison system as it has evolved exclusively in terms of retribution (and, worse, to claim justice is a mask for retribution) is to display a profound ignorance about the contemporary criminal justice system, its modernist roots and its subsequent history.

          It's like being a creationist.

    • jarrid, if you accept that crime rates are unacceptable, what will be the cost of meting out justice?
      Detention facilities, guards, food, etc It all costs big, big money in a time of defined austerity. While I am not necessarily in disagreement with harsher sentences, I need more than Mr Day's say so that this is the way to go. Where is the study that supports the grand plan? I'm not convinced this is a well researched course of action, are you?

      • It's like trying to teach calculus to a Springer Spaniel; should be simple but first you have to get the idiot's attention.

        • Hey – I had a Springer – she wasn't good on detail but she always got the gist of the situation. I think we're dealing with Airedales.

          • LOL….Cons as Airedales….explains a lot!

      • See my answer to Sean above.

        • It's almost as if you do understand citing evidence in support of your argument.


    • That is to say, to punish criminals and bring justice to victims of crime.

      I'm persuaded that stiffer sentences (ie "tough on cirme") will translate into a higher level of punishment for criminals, but I'm not persuaded that stiffer sentences will actually do much to bring justice to victims of crime; do you have evidene that victims of crime are measurably more satisfied when sentences are stiffer?

      • I would say that you can't empirically measure something like 'justice', which is a moral category. But we should be able to reasonably agree on what is an appropriate punishment for a given crime. There has been a trend in the justice system which doesn't beleive that justice works and so they want to emphasize rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is fine but it can't replace justice.

        So I think where Canadians are losing faith in the justice system is when the sentences for crimes are perceived as too low. And one must remember that criminals rarely serve even close to their entire sentence. I think that is the big problem today with the justice system.

        The other thing that we have to realize that isn't covered by statistics, is the social fallout from crime and how it affects people's behaviour. For example, if people stay barricaded in there houses and don't go to the local parks because of the criminal element, the stats may indeed show there is less crime in the neighbourhood, but what kind of a neighbourhood is it if people, particularly children, can't go out and play in safety.

        As a child I would go all over the place without adult supervision. Now most children in Canada spend hardly any time without adult supervision outside of their homes. The all-knowing 'statistics' knows nothing about that.

        • It amazes me how many people think that as children they spent all their time outdoors without any adult supervision.

          Mom chucked you out at dawn, and you didn't come home till supper. Yeah right.

          So much for the cooking-baking totally attentive mom of popular mythology….instead she was a totally negligent parent, probably watching soaps with a gin bottle.

        • "I would say that you can't empirically measure something like 'justice', which is a moral category."

          I definitely think Mr. Day should have opened with this and seen where it went from there. Such a good daydream, and right before bed, too. I give you +1 for it.

        • Hmmm….I'd like to get a few clarifications if I could.

          I'm a bit confused by your various uses of the word justice. At one point in your comment you mention the justice system; that usage makes sense to me, we're talking about a system which encompasses a number of aspects, one of which is sentencing (which itself has several objectives), another of which would be the right to a fair trial and so on.

          But then it seems that you equate justice to punishment, certainly explicitly excluding rehabilitation, and possibly also excluding other possible objectives such as reparations. Is it your contention that the one and only tool that society should make use of in its efforts to be administer justice is punishment?

          And to be clear you are certainly free to use that narrow definition of justice if you are inclined, but others are just as free to use a wider definition of justice, one that includes reparations, rehabilitation and retribution in a combination suited to the circumstances of the crime.

        • I'm also confused by your suggestion that you can't measure something like justice…..it seems to me that the claim from the "Tough On Crime" proponents is that the length of a sentence (or the amount of time served in prison) is a very good proxy measure for "justice", and that by increasing the initial sentence or, more importantly perhaps, by increasing the amount of time served inside the prison walls society will directly increase the amount of justice that we have achieved.

          I probably have oversimplified the "Tough On Crime" point of view; I'd welcome your corrections.

        • My suspicions mirror yours wrt people staying barricaded in their houses and kids playing freely and so on, but I'm not as convinced that this stems primarily from lax enforcement of laws, which is what I believe you are suggesting.

          So many things have changed since the good old days, when we were children. For example, I'll wager that in the old days neighbourhoods really were neighbourhoods, where more people actually knew a larger percentage of the neighbours, and when someone moved in they tended to stay for years or decades rather than months or years. Fewer houses had attached garages with remotely operated garage door openers and on and on. There is just so much that is so different today, and it all contributes to the tendency to stay hunkered down, limiting your kids movements to one or two backyards rather than the entire neighbourhood or even small town.

        • "As a child I would go all over the place without adult supervision. Now most children in Canada spend hardly any time without adult supervision outside of their homes. The all-knowing 'statistics' knows nothing about that." those phenomena sound like they could be measured with statistics.

          • There's a culture of child-rearing that tends to fixate on risk management, and outdoor play is but one component of that. Also, social and legal mores place unprecedented onus upon the parents to protect their children (thirty years ago, a child running out into traffic and being hit by a car was seen as an unfortunate victim – today, we immediately question the parents' culpability). Some of these shfts are justifed and good, some are completely disconnected from objective reality. Without getting into how much parental fear and caution is reasonable, using such perceptions as evidence of decreased actual safety is questionable.

        • Great spelling. (I'm rying to be nice).

    • Please tell us more about what yo- er…I mean what the Canadian public wants jarrid.

      • On justice issues they want punishments that fit the crime. They want safe neighbourhoods where people can go about their business or recreation without worrying about their property or personal safety. They want what the Conservatives have on offer and which the Liberals and the NDP have also followed suit lest they get pummelled at the polls.

        That's what the Canadian public wants Anon Liberal. But don't take my word for it, go ask Iggy and his handlers, they'll set you straight.

        • We have that already.

          Where do YOU live??

          • He lives in Edmonton.

        • "That's what the Canadian public wants Anon Liberal. But don't take my word for it, go ask Iggy and his handlers, they'll set you straight."

          Okay, I just checked with them and you're wrong: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/otta

          Relevant section:

          'The Liberals, too, were quick to pounce. “Stockwell Day seems like he is making things up,” a senior Ignatieff official told The Globe. “Not to say that there are no such things as ‘unreported crimes,' but to use that to justify their ‘lock'em all up and throw away the key' agenda is pushing the envelope.

          “If Mr. Day is so keen to look back to the early 60s crime stats, he should know that some crimes reported today were not necessarily reported back then: domestic violence, rape and child abuse, to name a few.”

          • See the problem with your "senior Ignatieff official" is that the "senior Ignatieff official" doesn't warm a seat in Parliament. The only Liberals that do that are Liberal MPs. And on law and order legislation, when it comes down to voting for or against the Conservatives law and order agenda,

            in other words, when the rubber hits the road,

            the Liberals sign on to the agenda. And good on the Liberals I say. Good on the Liberals.

          • Good on them for supporting an agenda based on ignorance and fear. Way to go.

            I guess this is why Jarrid's mum never let him play alone outisde. When all the other kids said they were going to jump off a cliff, Jarrid actually jumped.

  11. I do not agree with Stockwell Day, but he would help his cause if he would actually have some real facts (a study or two, some verifiable stats or data). But like a lot of things this government does, policy is decided by the gut and undefended by the real facts. This is leadership? Not!.

    • Yah, this was really a case of a non-functioning (analog) clock being right twice a day.

      Day's right to say that police statistics do not paint the full picture without victimization surveys (I remember this because it's the FIRST thing I got wrong in stats class). But he never says anything about how much does the non-reporting trend feed into the lowering police rates, because, truth be told, he hasn't a clue about it. And, of course, there's the irony of the whole let's-look-at-more-Statcan-stuff angle.

      Because, fundamentally, you're right: it was never about being correct. It's about being vaguely congruent with what people think the world is like, facts be damned.

  12. It just gets better and better and better.

    By "better", I of course mean "worse".

    The Harper government has quietly scrapped the large regular reports outlining how it is spending billions in stimulus cash, prompting concern from Parliament's budget officer that Canadians are now in the dark on the effectiveness of Ottawa's central economic plan.

    • I think we can now safely say that Harper has no intention of coming back to Parliament in the Fall. It's either prorogation or election. There really is no option left for him now.

      • It's definitely full speed ahead into the iceberg. Unless he's had a breakdown.

  13. OK, seriously, can we just replace the entire cabinet with Professor Gordon's metaphorical drunken monkeys already? Surely we're rapidly approaching the point where even Tory supporters would have to agree that a cabinet of drunken monkeys would be better than the clowns we have now. At least I could laugh at the drunken monkeys. All of our current Ministers of the Crown can only illicit tears from me at this point.

    This does at least explain why the Tories are trying to turn Statistics Canada into "Vague Hunches Canada". If your policies can't be supported by reality, the solution is obviously to make sure everyone's view of reality is clouded.

    • There is a cartoon floating around (I haven' been able to find it) of Harper holding an Ernie, as in Bert and Ernie, hand puppet. The caption is – this is the new head of Statscan – he'll give us the numbers we want.

  14. Not only is this an pitiful attempt to suck and blow at the same time, it's just plain ignorant and plumb stupid. Are the Cons seriously suggesting that it is their goal to move today's crime rates back to those of 40 years ago? Seriously? Why not 50 years? Why not before Confederation? Why not back when men roamed with dinosaurs?

    So, Stock-boy, riddle me this: how much do you think it will cost to go back to the crime rates of 40 years ago? $10 billion? $20 billion? $50 billion? $100 billion? Really, Stock, what's it gonna cost? 'Cause I thought you guys were all about discipline and fiscal responsibility – well, at least for the first few months of 2006, anyway. It seems, Stock, you're suggesting that regardless of cost, we should do whatever it takes to move crime rates back 40 years. I guess you figure pursuing 40-year old crime rates is the best possible way to spend Canadians' taxes, eh.

    When will you be announcing the CPC Unlimited-Budget-War-on-Crime? Will the UBWOC ™ be part of your next election platform? Be sure to tell us all what specific crime rate goals you set for yourselves and what it's all gonna cost. Yeah, that's the ticket to a majority. Yeah, go with that Stock.

  15. Like Jenn_, I too love the "we're going to build prisons because there's unreported crime argument". While we're at it why not make logic illegal.

  16. When Canadians talk about unreported crime, they talk about shoplifting, vandalism, petty theft, and things of that sort. Some domestic abuse does go unreported, but the vast majority of the unreported crime are of an insignificant nature.

    George Bush, even in his most incomprehensible hour, was never this dense and confused. These guys are making even Sarah Palin blush.

    • So the Liberal view is that "shoplifting, vandalism, petty theft" are insignificant? I suspect that most Canadians would strongly disagree with that. And any decrease in reporting of domestic abuse or assaults shows a pretty serious disconnect within Canada's justice system.

      • Oh enough with the exaggeration. Cons always go over the top.

        • What, exactly, am I exaggerating? And you really should stop calling me a Con, I may be a convict, but I've never voted Conservative, or Alliance, or Reform, or anything like that in my life.

          • If you see a poorly dressed family at a store maybe slipping a loaf of bread through the system without paying, are you going to bother raising the alarm about it?

            If a woman doesn't phone the cops about being hit, there's nothing anyone can do about it. No one even knows about it.

            We even had to make it law that when the cops are called, THEY have to lay the charges because many women refuse to.

            If you talk like a Con, people assume you are one.

          • So your position is that government policy can not affect when people report crimes? I would guess that the law you reference probably increased the number of domestic abuse reports.

          • Well you can't force people to report things if they don't want to.

            Although maybe we could have neighbours spy on each other…..call it the 'Gladys Kravitz law'….oh, and install cameras everywhere.

            Question all little kids in school about their homelife. That kind of thing.

          • "Well you can't force people to report things if they don't want to."

            So you agree with the Conservative position on the long form census then? LOL

          • No, and don't try sophomoric arguments with me either.

          • Then please explain to me why you think you can force someone to answer a form asking for demographic information, but you can't force them to report crimes?

            In fact, I'd bet the census even has something on it about crime. Why would you expect that to be accurate if people won't report the crime to the police?

          • One is the govt doing a census to gain info for policy.

            The other is a person who sees a little kid cross their lawn, and doesn't bother to report this 'major crime'.

          • And yet you think this person would report the crime on a census form, but wouldn't bother to call police? Or do you think they'd call the police, yet not consider it a crime on a census form?

          • The census form doesn't ask about crime

            I think you're done here.

          • So then you're saying the government is getting accurate data without it being demanded from people in the census? Or are all crime stats now deemed to be baseless?

          • That's what Stockwell Day appears to be saying.

          • Duh. Do you agree or disagree with him? Or more to the point at hand, do you agree that "you can't force people to report things if they don't want to"?

          • I think you do your avatar proud…….sheesh

          • Likewise

          • You are a total fool.

            Reliable crime data is collected by the police because they are the ones whose job it is to deal with crime.

            Voluntary surveys asking if you feel yourself to have been the victim of assult or foul smells are unreliable. Because they are voluntary.

          • Go back to kindergarten. You don't have a clue what you're talking about, and you're making yourself look like an idiot.

          • Are you saying a survery purporting to collect information on 'unreported crime' by asking people if they experienced a crime and then didn't report it is as reliable as, say, statistics based on crimes which were verified as a crime because the police investigated the incident?

            That seems to be what you are saying. Which means you don't know what you are talking about.

          • No, you dense fool. I'm saying that the two numbers are going to be significantly different, and that both are ultimately at the end of the day inaccurate.

            Unless you think that a crime hasn't been committed until it's been reported to police, I think my assertion is pretty self-evident.

            Now go back to watching Sesame Street.

          • One data set is much, much more reliable than the other.

            Almost every murder in Canada gets investigated. Because of insurance almost every stolen car gets reported. Some statisticians feel those two crimes yield the only consistent statistical indicators of criminal behaviour – especially over time.

            A survey purporting to measure ‘unreported crime' asks a bunch of people questions. Its conclusions are based on impressions of an individual's subjective feelings about past experiences. It is not in the same league as the murder rate. Some of these people might understand the questions differently than other people in the survey, for example. Almost everyone who gets murdered becomes a statistic. Not an unreported crime.

            Basing policy on unreported crime is irresponsible because the ‘statistic' involved is based on an inherently unreliable survey. Unlike, say, the murder rate.

          • The official murder rate gives absolutely no indication of what kind of property crimes are happening. The number of stolen cars in an area doesn't reflect the number of attempted thefts.

            And no, basing policy on unreported crime is not irresponsible. Basing policy on ALL applicable/relative data is exactly what the government should be doing actually. Just because you refuse to acknowledge that some crimes go unreported, doesn't make it so.

          • You are correct. The murder rate records the murder rate. Congratulations. Next we'll work on walking upright.

            People responding to a questionnaire is nowhere near as robust information as a record of incidences investigated by the police. The two data sets are not in the same league. However, surveys like the one which purported to measure unreported crime are important precisely because people do not contact the police every time someone sprays graffiti on a cube van. The key term here is minor nature. So the actual incidences are hard to know.

            But. The Conservatives are proposing to dramatically overhaul Canada's criminal justice system and when presented with statistics which demonstrate the crime rate is falling they attempt to justify their decision by referring to ‘unreported crime' – unreported crime not being nearly statistically as robust as the actual crime rate and, worse, minor in nature.

            So to dismiss hard data like the murder rate by referring to soft data like a survey is irresponsible. I don't know how you can argue with that, but you are …

      • Well, I hardly think that petty crimes – that is, those most frequently punished by summary conviction – are "insignificant" in the Liberal view.

        But the Conservatives' logic is that we have to build more prisons to deal with all these mandatory minimum sentences for serious crimes, which are increasing, but go (increasingly) unreported.

        A) You can't sentence someone to a minimum prison term for a crime that they haven't been charged with.
        B) The largest reporting gaps are, by and large, on crimes for which the Conservatives have not raised the concept of new mandatory minimums. So, if they're interested in collecting fines and having derelicts spend their 30 days in jail, that's one thing. But using reporting gaps as a justification for building larger, more secure prisons (for prisoners whose sentences exceed two years) doesn't add up.

        • A) By increasing prison terms and adding mandatory sentences, you increase confidence in the public that the perpetrator will face consequences, thus increasing the likelihood of the crime being reported.

          B) By building more prisons for the more serious offenders, it creates room in the less-secure facilities for the more minor offenders who are too often being released early due to prison crowding, etc, which is an endemic problem in many parts of the country. Also, I'd like to see some of those less secure facilities converted for juvenile detention, because that's where a large part of the problem starts in Canada.

          • Yup, nail the kids.

            Some 5 year old steps on your lawn, nail the little bugger for trespassing. Put him away.

          • It has nothing to do with trespassing 5 year-olds. In fact, that's kinda a sophomoric argument. Something like vehicle theft is highest amongst youth. That's a pretty serious crime, which leads to serious injuries and death to innocent bystanders.

            Hey, you like Statscan, right? Let's use them as a source: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/2008010/art

          • How do you know it doesn't?

            Simple fact is that neither you nor Stock know what 'unreported' crime there is….because it's unreported.

          • Okay, fine, then let's say that trespassing 5 year-old's is a major criminal problem, as you suggest it is. Wouldn't it be good to know, you know, for policy planning, where trespassing children is a major problem so we can address that problem in the future when they become trespassing adults?

          • I'm not suggesting it, you are.

            Like I said, you're done here.

            Say goodnight, Gracie.

      • If the Conservatives have a plan for increased crime reporting they certain haven't articulated it. I'm not holding my breath. But again, what does building more prisons have to do with it?

        • Well, if they thought there was going to be an increase in reported crimes, it would only make sense to be proactive and have more prison spaces available, wouldn't it?

          • It seems we have a con troll here. Sweetheart, I presume you would have been right up there with the Cheney/Bush regime and pushed for the "pre-emptive" strikes – civilian casualties (oops, I mean collateral damage in Robocon-speak) be damned. A rose by any other name is a rose, and you are a Stepford C.R.A.P.per if there ever was one. Don't be ashamed about it – just learn to love yourself and move on.

          • Well gee, thanks for the clever, and oh-so on-topic reply! You've certainly contributed much to the discussion.

            Rest assured, I love myself just fine, and I'd far rather associate myself with "con trolls" than whatever group it is you associate yourself with, since you can't seem to formulate an argument, or even a point for that matter, unless there was something more nuanced in there that I missed. But I'm guessing nuance isn't your thing since you lump Conservative, Reform and Alliance voters together as one group, even though they are three distinctly separate entities, with distinctly different supporters. It would be as absurd as associating the NDP with fascist Nazi's, or Liberal's with Communist dictatorships of past – intelligent people simply don't do it, because they realize how absurd and stupid such comparisons are.

            Also, basing your world-view on an incident that happened over 7 years ago, might make your opinions today slightly stale. The invasion of Iraq happened in 2003. Most people, weather they agree or disagree with the decision to do so, can agree that the Iraqi people are in a better place today than they were then. And a sad result of liberating them were some civilian casualties, but that is unavoidable in any war. Are you going to argue that defeating the Nazi's was a mistake because some German civilians died? I'd certainly hope not.

            And finally, nice job screwing up one of the most famous Shakespeare quotes out there. Safe to assume you've never actually read it? I'm getting quite a laugh imagining Juliette explaining to Romeo how "A rose by any other name is a rose, and uh, well, you get my point, right?" LOL

          • Whether, not weather. And I suggest you are naiive in the extreme if you think that Iraqis are better off today.

            And Juliette was a Canadian chanteuse. I believe that you are refering to Shakespeare's "Juliet".

            Watch out for the nose – some bird might make a nest in it if you continue to hold it so high! Lol.

          • Pardon my spelling errors, I'm a little jacked up on coffee tonight.

            Re: Iraq I'd refer you to: http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2004-04-2
            Now, the poll is a little dated (2004), but let me summarize:
            42% of Iraqi's believed that Iraq was better off post-invasion to 39% believing Iraq was worse off.
            51% of Iraqi's believed their family was better off post-invasion to 25% worse off.

            And since that particular poll was taken in 2004, it's safe to assume those numbers have only gotten better since. Now, you accused me of being naiive (sic) in the extreme for thinking Iraqis are better off today. Are you going to accuse Iraqi's of being naiive (sic) in the extreme also?

          • Maybe you should read something other than USA Today where they may spell naiive as naive. However, if you check your Oxford Concise, you'll find that your "sics" are unfounded. Switch to tea – better for you and may turn you into a 'sweetstud" rather than a sour one (and is 'stud' self-designated?)

            If you rely solely on American news, you are at a severe disadvantage as their journalism has become very tepid since 9/11.

          • Normally I'm a green tea guy, never drink coffee, for some reason I decided tonight that I'd try it again, couldn't tell you why.

            And I didn't chose the USA Today, it was the first thing that popped up on Google. I suppose I could search around for stats to fit an argument, as you suggest, that's just not the way I roll.

          • I'm a tea-drinker, but you are wrong about improvements in Iraq. Look at the Brooking institute's compilation of benchmarks for clear evidence of improvement: http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Files/Centers/Sa… (they are a reasonably independent think-tank, and the sources for the information provided is fairly reliable).

            Estimates of the number of victims of Saddam Hussein's regime range from 500,000 to 1.5 million. While there are civilian casualties as a result of the occupation of Iraq, they were far lower in number, and are relatively low today (in 2010 so far there were 825). So, whereas 20-60,000 people a year were executed by Saddam Hussein (not to mention others that were tortured or disappeared), far fewer are dying as a result of state terrorism today.

            Iraq is also undeniably more democratic and freer than it was prior to 2003. It scores a 5.05 (out of 10) and is the 4th most politically free country in the middle east (behind Israel, Lebanon and Morocco).

            Real per capita GDP in Iraq was $802 back in 2002. In 2008 it was $1,879. It may have dropped somewhat during the recession, but more than doubling in 6 years is pretty damn good.

            Unsurprisingly, Iraqis are pretty optimistic. In 2009, 58% thought they would be better off in 2010, versus 18% that said worse off.

            The problem with reporting in Iraq is that it only got coverage when things were going badly. Since the launch of the Petraeus strategy the US has dramatically turned things around (which is why Afghanistan is the real problem today). So perhaps you should not criticize the media consumption habits of others. Incidentally, if you want to get the real story about what is going on in the world, I prefer to skip the filter of the media altogether. Look at the raw data itself.

          • And if they believed the moon was made of blue cheese we could solve global hunger.

    • A wave unreported crime is sweeping our communities, making them worse in ways we barely notice.

      • Wow, I must have really struck a chord with you having to stalk me all over this board, huh? I'd suggest getting a life. Like a real-life one, not World of Warcraft. Loser.

        • Stop copying my insults.

  17. Ah, the boyos get their information from the same source most "real" people do – the local
    TV news – which is a litany of street crime and cute puppies. I know it scares me.
    And it just feels right.
    So, what are they going to do about the plight of cute puppies ?

    The Jurist ……. http://accidentaldeliberations.blogspot.com/2010/

    StatsCan anyone ?

    • Or they imitate Harper and refuse to watch Canadian news channels, preferring American ones, which presumably report more violence.

  18. Putting aside Day's obvious attempt to take credit for reduced reported crime, his basic claims are correct. Crime is still way up in comparison to previous eras. Unreported crime is increasing, too. Aren't those who want to deny these truths even more guilty of ideology than Day apparently is?

    • But when you say crime is still way up in comparison to previous eras, are you taking unreported crime into account?

      • My understanding of the generational numbers is that, leaving aside unreported crime, reported crime is way up. Not leaving aside unreported crime, it's even higher than ever.

        So, the usual suspects can smirk at Stockwell Day's comments all they want. For the most part, I think he's right. Our current record on crime isn't something to be complacent about, to say the least, and may be far worse than current reporting on stats makes us believe.

        I'll also add one more thing. I believe that a prolonged debate on the stats misses the point somewhat. A criminal justice system should be about, wait for it, justice. So, even if you somehow believe that tougher crime laws have no effect, or aren't needed, because of their effect on crime rates, there's another consideration that I think is even more important. It's about justice — for victims, their families, and for society.

        I think it's a factor that doesn't get nearly enough attention in discussions concerning crime in this country.

        • I get where you're coming from, but as wsam points out below, justice is an abstract. The idea of justice for society is even trickier. Several years ago, a man in BC was killed in a senseless violent act. He went to check on a party at his neighbour's house that was getting out of hand and a teenage kid stabbed him. The guy was a pillar in the community, young father, just tragic. His wife did something different. She forgave the murderer and now goes out to schools with the guy to talk to students. I couldn't do that. But what got me was the reaction to the story – people were furious at this woman for forgiving the guy. For them, justice was to string the murderer up, even though they had no relationship with the victim. The person who was closest to the victim had a different idea. Is her version unacceptable? Strangers thought so. That extends to every criminal act. Victims of crime are usually very angry. I know I was when I was the victim of a car break in (reported, BTW). Often the action required to create a feeling of 'justice' is out of proportion with the original act, at least when it comes to property crimes.

          • I'm all for forgiveness, but what does that have to do with running a criminal justice system? That's between her and the criminal. Justice is what we as a society should be concerned with.

            You also seem to be suggesting that a victim who wants to forgive a criminal has more merit than one that doesn't.

            I'm not saying that victims should run the system. I'm saying that their rights should be protected. It's something that the left doesn't seem to be concerned with as much as the rights of accused criminals — for some reason.

            That's just my perception, of course.

          • You mentioned justice for 'for victims, their families, and for society.' I'm giving an example where perceptions of justice for victims and society differ. Most victims would feel differently than this woman, but I'm trying to say that justice is an abstract concept, especially when it involves society as a whole. One person's justice is harsh to another, coddling to a third.

          • While I agree that the concept of justice can be a complex one, it doesn't have to be for the purpose of setting up a justice system. There are basic notions of justice the violation of which would clearly demonstrate injustice. For example, letting guilty criminals go unpunished, or incarcerating innocent ones, etc.

            So, when I suggest that a justice system should be about justice, I mean that punishment should reflect the nature of the crime. Solely focusing on statistical crime rates misses the mark. For example, statistics might show that putting a violent offender on the streets might not increase crime rates, but it would be an injustice.

      • A wave unreported crime is sweeping our communities, making them worse in ways we barely notice. Especially compared to previous era when the crime was even more unreported.

        • Who in the world is saying these things? Man, the kinds of people that come on these boards with their desperate agendas. Then they turn around and accuse others of such. You can't make this stuff up.

    • Would any of the posters/trolls who are clicking "thumbs down" on my post respond to even one point that I made in my post? Geez. Given the amount of mockery that Day has been receiving, you'd think it'd be based on at least some substance!

      Or is it as I've been saying for some time? When liberals and leftists call for substance and civility in politics, what they mean is that they want their opponents to shut up.

      • "respond to even one point that I made in my post? Geez."

        as you make the same incoherent, stupid points everywhere, why should anyone bother?

        hey –
        this is about the time you people are supposed to say – move along, no one cares about this issue (until we again choose to use it a a phony rationalization for some wedge issue we are trying to exploit)

        • as you make the same incoherent, stupid points everywhere, why should anyone bother?

          You're bothering enough to click thumbs down, aren't you? So why not state what your objections are, instead of engaging in these endless childish taunts?

          Again, are there any assertions I made about the state of crime in this country that you can counter? Obviously not. You'd rather mock opponents, then decry those same opponents for not acting with civility. Whatever.

      • "I believe that a prolonged debate on the stats misses the point somewhat."

        Right. So you'd rather argue about the abstract noun justice rather than crime statistics. Why is that not a surprise? Could it be that if you are stuck arguing about measurable reality as it is reflected in crime statistics you know you'll lose the argument.
        But if you muddy the waters arguing about subjective concepts like justice you might deflect attention away from criminologists who speculate the Conservative's crime bill will most likely make crime worse.

        • No, I want to talk about both the statistics and justice. You don't want to talk about justice. I find that fascinating, actually. Don't you care that justice be done, especially on behalf of victims and their families? Or that justice be a general principle in our justice system?

          As for the stats, again, crime is way up compared to past decades, and probably still way up if you take unreported incidents into account.

          I'm not afraid of a debate on any of these issues. Others seems to be, or are simply interested in mocking those who dare disagree with them.

          • "… crime is way up compared to past decades, and probably still way up if you take unreported incidents into account."

            … taking unreported crime into account means you are basing your argument on nonsense. Unreported incidences might never have happened. Or they might not be crimes. They could be entirely imaginary. It is fuzzy-wuzzy, fantasy-camp-for-conservatives type stuff.

            Overhauling your criminal justice system because you anticipate an upsurge in unreported crime is like basing your national security policy on Rumsfeldian unknown unknowns. And we all know how that went.

            The only crimes which are statistically reliable are murder and car theft. Realizing this, the Conservatives are attempting to use ‘unreported crime' as a metric to support their policy preferences. This is ridiculous. And I'm sure they know it. But their tough on crime agenda is not based on careful consideration of the Canadian Criminal Justice System, its successes and failures. The Conservative tough on crime agenda is based on electoral considerations, plus their prejudices. This is policy informed by bias and ignorance.

          • How is the statistic of unreported crimes nonsense? It could very well be a police issue, community issue, lack of confidence in the system issue. Funny how you want to dismiss statistics that get in the way of your political views, which appear to involve going soft on criminals.

            Why do you leftists types not like putting criminals in jail? Why do you like crime rates way above 60's levels?

            Me? If we have more prisons, and put more criminals in them, what in the world is the harm? Why would you not want that? Why does that make your blood boil?

            It's as though you liberal types have to justify your own brilliance by creating policies that defy common sense and justice.

    • But Dennis don't forget how this started. Day justified Billions of $ in new spending on prisons based on "alarming" increases in unreportred crime. How does one affect the other? Draw the line for us from longer sentences to more reporting of the property crimes he is referring to.

      Check the video at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/otta

      • Well, first, many of you seem to want to avoid a basic reality that Day and others are pointing to, which is that the crime picture isn't nearly as rosy as liberals and leftists are making it out to be.

        Which brings us to your point: How do we deal with it?

        People like Stockwell Day say throw more criminals in jail. What do the opponents who mock him say? More of the same?

        Keep in mind, I've already stated that I believe the discussion should be about more than stats. It should be about justice. To put it bluntly, if you do the crime, you do the time. And building more prisons would help us adhere to that principle, wouldn' it?

        • “… the crime picture isn't nearly as rosy as liberals and leftists are making it out to be.”

          Prove it. Because of unreported crime? How do they know this? The crime went unreported. According to that six year old survey, because people didn't think it was important.

          If people don't think the incidences involved were important enough to report to the police – does anyone believe the survey was in any way accurate? Was the survey voluntary? How would its results be cross-checked? The incidences involved went unreported.

          This is the reason to upend Canada's criminal justice system? An upswing in unreported crime. That's like saying we need stricter laws regarding pornography, adolescent sex, etc … because teenagers are thinking dirty thoughts. They deny it, but we know they are. Oh. The Conservatives have proposed something similar, haven't they?

          • According to that six year old survey

            It's the latest information we have, and every similar survey before that has shown a drop. In other words, during the same time that reported crime is going down, unreported crime is going up. People interested in objective facts would find that curious, wouldn't they?

            If people don't think the incidences involved were important enough to report to the police – does anyone believe the survey was in any way accurate? Was the survey voluntary? How would its results be cross-checked? The incidences involved went unreported.

            So now you're picking and choosing which surveys you lend credence to, are you? This is supposed to be a scientific and facts-based approach, is it?

            This is the reason to upend Canada's criminal justice system? An upswing in unreported crime.

            I'll say it again. If you take TWO facts together — that crime is way up since the 60's, and unreported crime is up — yes, there is still something very seriously wrong.

            I also believe, again, that a justice system should be about, wait for it, justice. If you commit assault, rape, or murder, you should be punished. Period. Rehabilitation is a mixed bag and should be a secondary consideration, especially concerning repeat violent offenders.

            That's like saying we need stricter laws regarding pornography, adolescent sex, etc … because teenagers are thinking dirty thoughts.

            You're likening serious criminal offences to "thinking dirty thoughts?" And you consider yourself to be a serious interlocutor on the topic, do you?

          • Many things we now consider crimes weren't crimes in 1960. For example, different types of domestic assault. What this means is comparing overall crime statistics from 1960 to 2010 is comparing apples to oranges. This goes double for people's perception of crime.

            Unreported crime surveys are not in same league as police collected statistics. They are not even in the same league as counting bathrooms. We know pretty accurately how many murders were committed in Canada over a given period because almost all murders get investigated. Getting murdered means you are dead, regardless of your subjective beliefs, or whether you respond to surveys or not. The police investigate and the murder becomes a statistic. Not an unreported crime.

            Surveys purporting to measure unreported crime are similar to surveys measuring happiness. They measure subjective impressions. Useful in some instances. But not to justify overhauling the criminal justice system.

          • You're making quite a few bold and sweeping characterizations about statistics. Do you have any credible sources to justify it? Or is it just your opinion? Is it just your ideology? You know, the things you so loosely like to accuse your opponents of resorting to.

  19. Day's problem, in part at least, is that he is religious: living in a fantasy world, making stuff up and demanding that everyone believe it, fear and contempt for reality (and for the work needed to discover what it is and to understand it). God told him.

    • Stockwell Day beleives Batman will smite him if he doesn't run 5 km every day.

      • Why do you people so hate your political opponents? Is this what the modern left is about? Is this what you want Canada to be? Childish, resentful, and intolerant? My God.

    • Then why are you the one resorting to these vicious intolerant attacks? My God the hypocrisy of people who criticize Day and other conservatives. This is the kind of Canada that you people want, is it? Nobody is allowed to succeed except the left-wing?

  20. Okay, so this is from Calgary and we know that Calgary cannot be metonymic for the country as a whole, but here are some numbers.

    On slide 44, we learn that there was a nine-point drop in reporting over one year. However, a page earlier, the majority of the crimes that fourteen per cent of Calgarians reported being victimized by were property crimes.

    Of those who did not report the crime, and offered a reason why they did not do so, the single greatest response was that they "did not want to bother the police". More than half are unaccounted for in that open-end, so either they had no particular reason, or their responses were so unique as to not be significant in the overall report.

    • (continued)

      People also say that they perceive more crime in their neighbourhoods and they want a greater police presence. To me, this seems an awfully interesting observation: feeling like there's more crime is on the rise, so people want more police presence. Okay. But to the police, they are getting fewer reports of crime, because people say they don't want to bother the police. Police cannot respond – in the physical "we show up and knock on your door" sense – to feelings. They can only respond to reports. And they can only press charges when crimes are reported.

      So which is it, folks? Is crime increasing, and therefore requires more police attention, or is crime just not worth reporting, because it's really not that damaging to people or property?

      • Well Harper promised a ton of money for the system, so more police could be hired, but that never materialized.

        But if people say they didn't want to 'bother the police' then I'd say it was very minor.

      • Last time I read any analysis on the subject, the conclusion seemed to be that what deters crime is not length or severity of punishment but the chances of getting caught. That's apparently what they learned down south. More police on the beat increases the risk of getting caught. Or discourages the activity in the first place. With or without reports.

        • More police on the beat increases the risk of getting caught.

          And so does a vigilant populace. I'm not saying that one is more necessary than the other, but it's the police's job to determine who gets arrested, and the Crown's to determine charges before a court. Civilians acting as judge and jury and/or attempting to filter the system doesn't help, it just feeds into this rhetoric of people who want to justify increasing domestic security.

  21. Ya know, y'all, I think Stock's spin is confused because this whole thing isn't really about crime and punishment and justice and stats and things like that. It's about building prisons! Lots of construction contracts, for starters! And then the prison industry jobs! With more uniforms! And then all of it can be privatized! And then we'll have prison towns, just like in the US of A!

    • I hope they put up those stupid Economic Action Plan posters on all the new prisons.

    • The largest contributor to political campaigns in California is the union representing prison guards.

  22. When crime rates are increasing, it's because jail is corrupting people rather than rehabilitating them. Heavier sentences won't help.

    When crime rates are decreasing, it's because jail terms are working beautifully and are plenty harsh. Heavier sentences are unnecessary.

    Got it.

    Somewhere in all this it would be nice to be able to tell those who were close to Reena Virk that her murderers will spend considerably more than 7 years in prison. It would also be nice if our cabinet ministers could avoid screwing up a good cause by mixing their messages.

    • Seconded. As someone who pays rather close attention to the justice system, I really do believe many Canadians would be rather shocked if they saw the types of sentences routinely meeted out for serious violent and sexual offences.

      On the other hand, someone is going to need to inform this government that people are actually paying attention to them, and aren't going to take what they say at face value. So when they say something that is completely illogical or just flat out wrong in the hopes of bolstering a policy position, especially one that can stand on facts and logic, they deserve to get hammered.

    • "It would also be nice if our cabinet ministers could avoid screwing up a good cause by mixing their messages. "

      Harper thugs are well represented by Laughing-Stock Day (formerly known as Doris). Dis-empowered and brain dead, they are sent out to battle the forces civility and are generally found wanting. Finally the cowering media cannot suppress their amazed sarcasm and bite back. Would love to hear the invective Akin's new boss showered him with.

      and as to "good cause" – that would be the conversion of Canada into a bankrupt police state?

      • "Dis-empowered and brain dead, they are sent out to battle the forces civility and are generally found wanting."

        One can only hope that you and the rest of the "forces [of] civility" will prevail in your attempts to bring class, civility, and reasoned discourse back into the public square.

        • Thanks for correcting the typo….

          Anyway I am glad you showed up as I have a couple of bones to pick with you:
          * a while back, you promised to stop posting about the census debacle – but have seen many tangential and some direct posts since then ;-)
          * a more serious beef involves the put down you made when I cited the crime stats as motivation for Harper census-cide. Harper finds all empirical measurements to be inconvenient to his hidden-in-plain-sight agenda. But with all the nonsense from Day and others over the crime issues and related stats, even you cannot possibly deny the Harper-thugs allergies to the crime stats from Statistics Canada and hence their very real motivation (among many others) to end this perceived heresy-minded organization that that so insists on contrasting reality with the truthiness of the Con gut.

          • Regarding point 1: I think you're confusing me with Olaf. It's an understandable mistake – we're both somewhat antique-looking.

            Regarding point 2: I think it's highly unlikely that Harper is engaged in a conspiracy to destroy Stats Canada so that his thuggish agenda can reign supreme and unchallenged. Not impossible, of course, but I'd put it somewhere up there with 911 being a controlled demolition by the Bush Administration.

    • "Somewhere in all this it would be nice to be able to tell those who were close to Reena Virk that her murderers will spend considerably more than 7 years in prison. It would also be nice if our cabinet ministers could avoid screwing up a good cause by mixing their messages."

      Agreed. And it would be nice if we made some room for Aset Magomadova while we're at it. Which leads me to the question that's been bothering me: how many of those new prison cells are for women? Surely if there is a demographic where crimes are not reported due to a reluctance on the part of our police and criminal justice systems to prosecute and sentence, it would be victims of female perpetrated violent crime (particularly against children and youth).

      I can attest to this from personal experience. No-one notices or seems to care unless the victim is killed in the process, at which point the "authorities" can't ignore it any longer. Not that that made much difference in Aminat Magomadova's case.

  23. Oddly enough, probably the best way that Harper could have tackled the crime issue would have been to give the 0.01 of the GST to the municipalities instead of foolishly getting rid of it.

    If increased police presence both decreases incidences of crime and increases crime reporting then surely the easiest way to make that happen would be to ensure that funding municipal police forces didn't account for upwards of 24% of a city's budget.

    Or we could just build more prisons, whatever really.

  24. There is a rather large fallacy underlying the Gohier article (and Stockwell Day's insistence on rooting his argument on crime rates). It is the idea that because crime rates are going down, legal reforms are unnecessary. What a ridiculous notion. If there are a set of legal reforms that reduce crime and have minimal other costs (and its not clear the changes do), then by all means pass them. We certainly don't think this way on the economy. One will rarely hear the argument that we should never change our economic regulations, simply because the economy is growing. Moreover, the decline in crime may be related to exogenous factors more than present policies.

    Secondly, it is not clear to me why going back to the early 60's is the best we can do. There are many countries that have crime rates below those levels, and again, why shouldn't we aspire to outdo past results. Nor is the early 60's an appropriate benchmark. If you go to the Canadian historical yearbook, they record statistics on homicides going back to 1926. Homicides per 100,000 were:

    1975: 3088
    1970: 2192
    1965: 1410
    1960: 1365
    1955: 1000
    1950: 816
    1945: 1259
    1940: 1300
    1935: 1411
    1930: 2096
    1926: 1270

    So, if there is a golden age of low crime, it was the 50's, not the 60's. The crime rate of 1950 was almost half that of 1960. So even if we believe that we can't beat the record of our predecessors our limited historical memory plays a significant role.

    • Those numbers are very wrong. The homicide rate has never been any where near 816 per hundred thousand in the country. Are you aware that what you just wrote is suggesting that one out of every thirty Canadians that was alive in 1975 was killed that year? Those are numbers that would be shocking for some of the most violent places in history, like medieval Oxford. Try to think about them for a second, are thousands of people killed every year in our most violent cities today? The answer is no, Winnipeg might see dozens of homicides in a year but no where near thousands.

      I do not have the numbers with me right now to double check but the numbers you wrote could be the total number of murders in a given year. They do look about right for that. Of course that also means that your entire argument is completely flawed. The population of the country has not been stable over the last eighty four years so comparisons are inappropriate and even your 1926 "rate" is off by about two decimal places.

      • Sorry, divide by 1000.

      • I was murdered in 1965 and I never reported it.

    • This number certainly does not reflect homicides per 100K. In 2005, the rate of homicide in Canada was 2.04 per 100K. The average rate 1961-2005 was 2.17 per 100K. (FYI: the 1961 rate was around 1.3 — guessing from a graph — peaked at 3.03 in 1975, and has been declining since then.) From Homicide in Canada: 85-002-XIE2006006, available free from StatsCan (until further notice).

      • Divide by 1000. Anyway since this is a rate, it is still a valid measure of relative change, even if it is scaled improperly.

        • If there's an online source for these numbers could you be so kind as to provide it?

          • It is from Historical Statistics of Canada, a publication put together by Statistics Canada. Here is the index for the data. Look under justice for the number of homicides, and population for the population. http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/11-516-x/3000140-eng

          • I don't mean to be a hair-splitter here, but in 1961, the definition of homicide changed. I believe your numbers reflect murders only fr 26-61, and the new definiation after that of homicide, which includes murder, manslaughter, and infanticide. This would tend to increase the number of crimes included from 1961 onwards. I could be wrong, but I believe that's correct.

          • The sources drawn on after 1960 are different, but I don't think the discrepancies are especially dramatic (they don't give a definition for the Vital Statistics source, I believe because this was data supplied by provincial governments – so there may have been province-to-province differences in the definition of a homicide). One source is death certificates, the other is all suspected cases of homicides.

            Homicide deaths by year (1961 is when the new definition is adopted):

            1950: 112
            1951: 137
            1952: 135
            1953: 149
            1954: 157
            1955: 157
            1956: 171
            1957: 165
            1958: 198
            1959: 167
            1960: 244
            1961: 211
            1962: 265
            1963: 249

            So there isn't an immediate ratcheting up once the standard was shifted (1960 data was from the old standard), which would suggest that the increases are not due to a new standard. Moreover, homicides appear to have been increasing fairly rapidly DURING the 1950's, and that data is directly comparable.

    • You are easily the stupidest f*** on the face of the earth and representative of all Con morons if you think those numbers are correct.

  25. more prisons won't make more women report sexual assault. Failure to report sexual assaults (the highest unreported crime) has little to nothing to do with punishment or sentencing.
    And more prisons won't make folks report that their iPod was stolen from their locker or their glove box.

  26. Jenn wrote:
    "If it's assault of course the police will do something about it."

    To which I reply:
    Not true, Jenn. Unless the cops are on the ground when the assault is occurring, there is little they can do without witnesses.

    Jenn continues:

    " I don't know why people would break into a car without taking something"

    To which I reply:
    Because some people just do things like that. No reason needed. But you still pay for the damage.

    • Which, of course, won't change one iota with more prisons.

  27. She goes on:
    "but you appear to have these little fantasies about non-crimes being non-reported….which is a crime apparently"

    Sorry, Jenn. Breaking into a car that doesn't belong to you is a crime. Nothing has to be stolen. Not reporting someone broke into your car is not a crime. Once you get that sorted out under the tinfoil, you'll be better able to understand Day's comments.

    "Confidence in the police in fine…..yelling at kids on your lawn is just silly. "

    Actually, Jenn, confidence in the police is diminished to the point that you know it is a waste of time reporting a crime. The police do NOTHING for property crime other than take notes in the event your stuff is found. There is no investigation in most cases.

    As for the kids on your lawn…….I agree. Yelling at them isn't a solution, though yelling at the kids' parents may give you some satisfaction. Until the police show up and arrest you for verbally assaulting the parents who DO report you.

    And Jenn….keep your damn kids on your own lawn.

  28. Stockwell Day is the stupidest person on the planet. He's Douglas Fieth on horse steroids.

    The only crime statistics which have any relevance are murder and car theft. Those two stats are the only ones which get consistently reported (missing people and missing cars get reported, in the first instance because they are missing and in the second because of money, i.e. insurance claims) and whose meaning has been consistent over time.

    Definitions of what constitutes assault, sexual assault, property theft, identity theft, fraud, etc … all have changed over time. In many jurisdictions until quite recently husbands could not be charged with sexually assaulting their wives; thus skewering the historical data. The definition of who is and who is not a minor (even the idea of children as minors) is always changing and changes between jurisdictions. Reporting rates are effected by social censure (in the case of rape and sexual assault especially), tradition, ignorance the incidence was indeed a crime, and, in some immigrant communities, distrust of the police.

  29. No, no, no. You guys are all falling for the pretty girl and the flash.

    The prisons, are not for 'criminals'.

    The prisons are for you. These guys get a majority, then Stock's master, Steven "Hollywood" ( that's who he sold us to!) Harper will rule in Canada like a king. Anything goes. Heck, even having them as govt is bad enough. I'd take the damn NDP ( That's right. I said it. ) over these guys.

    We are served best by a minority government. Look how good things have been recently. Who cares who's in the high chair, as long as we the people are the ones tying the bib?

    Harper needs to win this election. He's going to play dirty, because to fail to get a majority in 4 tries brands him a failure. Let's give the Bloc a chance to be the minority leader, or the green party, or the pirate party. If it's a minority, then we've elected _ourselves_ . That's not so bad eh?

  30. wsam wrote:
    "Stockwell Day is the stupidest person on the planet"

    Obviously, wsam has not been introduced to a mirror.

    • so you are OK with Laughing-Stock Day being deemed the second most stupid?
      or is it a one-way mirror and he sees you on the other side perhaps?

    • Mirrors are windows into the soul and that's why I avoid them.

      Stockwell Day's mental processes are an unreported crime.

  31. "…At that time, our violent crime rate was 221 incidents per 100,000 of population. That means last year's violent crime rate of 920 incidents per 100,000 was 316% higher than in 1962." The Sun, Aug 1, 2010…"

    There are so many factors that influence those numbers that any direct comparison is just plain silly.

    First of all, how many laws were on the books in 1962 versus 2010?

    Do all the various possible internet crimes count in there?
    Drunk driving laws?
    The increased focus on domestic crime?
    Hate laws?
    etc etc

    And then there's questions that are harder to answer such as: What is the impact of population density growth in large cities?

    Surely one must concede that high density populations allow for larger and more complex crime organization, more disparity to drive crime and more opportunity to commit crime.

    I mean come on, let's not be so simplistic.

    • I mean come on, let's not be so simplistic.

      You must be new around here.

  32. Anyone know if pre-crime's up or down?

    • Nice one!!

  33. "Mistrust those in whom the urge to punish is strong." ………..Friedrich Nietzsche

  34. This assertion that "the rate of reporting has not changed" bugs me. Where did it come from? Because the government does record this as part of the General Social Survey, and reporting rates ARE down. This data (from statistics canada) tells a very different story from that of the UCR, which only looks at reported crime.

    Look at page 17:
    1993: 68%
    1999: 62%
    2004: 54%

    Vehicle theft
    1993: 50%
    1999: 60%
    2004: 49%

    Household property theft
    1993: 43%
    1999: 32%
    2004: 29%

    1993: 46%
    1999: 34%
    2004: 31%

    According to Juristat: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-002-x/85-002-x200

    Nor is this a small problem. Only 26% of women and 38% of men report violent victimization. That rate is lower for some other crimes (notoriously sexual assault). In general the reporting rate for crimes is 34%. Is this a problem that we can't help? Well it is true that in 65% of cases people felt the crime was too small to report – but there were other examples that do speak to the efficacy of the police.

    Reasons for not reporting crimes:
    "Police couldn't do anything": 60%
    "Didn't want police involved": 22%
    "Police wouldn't help": 21%
    "Fear of revenge": 4%

    And rates of property crime ARE on the rise, contrary to the story told by UCR statistics

    Total household crimes per 1000 households
    1993: 193/1000
    1999: 218/1000
    2004: 248/1000

    Violent victimizations, thankfully, were down, but not by much
    1999: 106
    2004: 111

    Incidentally, this would suggest that crime IS up, not down. What strikes me as particularly galling is that Mr. Gohier didn't check the data that was out there before writing his story. Stockwell Day's proposed policy solutions may not be effective remedies, but his statements were at least defensible.

    • Last one should be
      1999: 111
      2004: 106

      • The only statistic with which to accurately judge whether crime is rising or falling is murder, with the addition of car theft. The survey information is interesting and actionable and should be cause for concern. But it doesn't record actual crime with any where near the same level of accuracy as the murder rate.

        Additionally a slight rise in 'unreported crime' does not justify spending 9 billion dollars on new prisons and overhauling Canada's criminal justice system. The Conservatives want to punish more 'criminals' because they want to punish more criminals. It is not a means, it is an end. Punishing more criminals is the point. Conservative policy is not intended to reduce crime. It is intended to punish more criminals. It is based on ideology, not bservable reality.

        • This is a rather convenient point for you to make. In the process of arguing for a fact-based approach you advocate throwing out all of the data, apart from homicides. If you have data on the number of crimes committed, and data on the level of non-reporting, you can calculate a modified crime rate (unfortunately the GSS isn't conducted for everything, but it surely paints a picture). As for the declines being small, err no. Reporting in household property theft dropped from 43% to 29% – about a third.

          And we put people in jail for many reasons other than say, rehabilitation. Separating criminals from the general public increases safety, provides a deterrent, and eases concerns about victim's rights. The knowledge that criminals get dealt with can indeed have an impact on things like the rate of reporting. 60% of people who did not report crimes said that the police couldn't do much about it. That speaks to a relatively low level of faith in the justice system.