The overall crime rate is continuing its downward trend in Montreal, despite some notable exceptions.
The Montreal police department tabled its annual report Wednesday afternoon, releasing statistics on matters including violent crimes, thefts and car collisions.
The murder rate is the lowest it has been since 1972: police investigated just 23 murders in 2016, down from 29 the year before, although that number does come with one catch. The death of a child in July, and the death of Albert Arsenault in September, were determined in early 2017 to be murders. Montreal police will include their deaths in their murder statistics for 2017.
Another death in April 2016 was considered suspicious, and police spent April and May searching for witnesses in that case. Police do not yet consider it a murder.
Attempted murders are also down 10 per cent at 99 from 111 in 2015.
Property crimes are down, including the notoriously high rate of car thefts.
Overall, crimes including break and enter, arson and mischief were at 54,561 in 2016, compared to 56,932 the year before, representing a 4.2 per cent drop.
Notably, car theft has dropped to 4,411 from 4,523 the year before.
When it comes to sex crimes, however, police says they’ve seen an increase of 14.5 per cent: 1,487 in 2016 compared to 1,299 in 2015.
Montreal police Chief Philippe Pichet said this spike is because victims are more likely to come forward.
"It's not maybe a higher level of crime, it's more about denunciation," he said.
Pichet says it's because victims are now more likely to come forward.Fraud cases are also up by 13 per cent – 6,544 in 2016 compared to 5,790 in 2015 -- but Pichet said that’s attributed to a single investigation involving a fraud ring targeting seniors.
Pichet says it's because victims are now more likely to come forward.“It was difficult, but at the same time we did many, many good things in the field in different neighbourhoods, and of course the criminality when down, so that’s good,” said Pichet of the report.
because victims are now more likely to come forward.Some interesting notes about road safety: 23 people died in vehicle accidents in 2016 compared to 22 the year before, a relative comparison, however, there was a 16 per cent drop in the number of serious injuries, at 186 in 2016 compared to 222 in 2015.
As for cyclists, two people were killed last year compared to three the year before.
Police prevention also means pedestrians in Montreal received about 22,000 jaywalking tickets, up 10 per cent from the year before.
Cyclists received nearly 12,000 tickets, nearly 20 per cent more than in 2015.
One thing which hasn't changed is the number of police officers who come from cultural communities; only 7 per cent of the force is non-white.
Pichet said increasing that figure isn't easy.
“We try to get in touch with these people, we have many programs. I don't have the exact explanation for it,” he said.See some of the highlights of the report here and the full report here: