Violent crime in Canada is on the rise in Canada as well as the types of
violent crimes being committed against the public. It has been on the rise for
many, many years. I believe and intend to prove in the following essay that it
is societies responsibility for the rise of violent crime with their
unwillingness and inability to effectively deal with the current trend in our
society. In the last few years, a slight dip in violent crime has been noted,
but we must view this with skepticism as no official statistics are available.
As well as this could be an example of society realizing that the Criminal
Justice System is not effectively dealing with the trend of violence in Canada.
This would be true by way of the fact that people are not reporting these crimes
to the police. Generally all the statistics that are gathered and used by the
police are based upon reported crime and no conjecture on unreported crime is
included in these official statistics.
To fully understand what violent crime is, we must first define what
violent crime is in actuality. All to often, people in Canadian society refer to
general wrongdoing as being a crime. A simple example of this is when grocery
stores all raise their prices for certain food products. People then refer very
casually to this act as a crime or that these prices are criminal. Individuals
in our Society often have a fear of being victimized by others, such as the
government, friends and or strangers. This fear is often equated with crime
since all crimes have a winner and a loser or victim as would be the legal term.
This equation often makes involvement in these acts of "crime" a personal thing.
Which results in stronger feelings and sometimes irrational thinking towards the
whole subject of crime. Many times people are not reporting these crimes
because it is their duty in a society to help uphold the laws of ones society.
In actuality, they are reporting the crime for needed compensation whether it be
for medical costs or lost wages. Another reason some people report crimes is
because they are doing it as an avenging act to extract a revenge they could not
otherwise get for themselves. This is a main reason in the fact that police
officers need to investigate reported crimes and determine if a crime had
actually been committed or not. The crimes which are considered to be violent
crimes and which I am focusing on, I shall list next. Any form of an assault on
the person, ranging from sexual assault to Aggravated assault. Robbery,
Homicide, Attempted Homicide, and Manslaughter are all considered violent crimes.
These crimes are committed for a variety of reasons that range from
unbelievable to incredible. Some are done for fun, having no real reason at all.
Anger is a major reason for assaults being committed as well as Homicides.
Robbery of a store or mugging of an individual is another reason. As well as
pure pre-meditated violence, whether it is a beating or a murder, people use
violence to enforce other things that are considered to be valued reasons for
violence. In fact many sub-cultures of Canadian culture, such as gangs have
developed differing views on crime and see the act of assaulting another
individual as a way of settling a dispute and/or argument. A more technical
definition would be as follows;
" a crime involves the violation of a norm. Norms are social rules
ranging from the important and the binding to the less important and optional.
From which society makes attempts and rules to regulate behaviour in society "
The Importance of the laws are measured by the level of punishments imposed upon
the offender and the sanctions in place against the law. An example of this is
lying and skipping class are considered to be minor infractions, where as murder
is considered to be one of the most atrocious acts that could be committed by a
Since the beginning of Canada, that is to say its formation as a dominion,
there has always been a crime rate for the population. Fluxations and
statistics have been recorded about the happenings of crime in Canadian culture.
These statistics have long been studied by Sociologists and other well known
scholars. The crime rate of 1867 and 1987 are just as different as the cultures
of the two different time periods are different. But an interesting correlation
has been noted with the crime rates of 1939-1938 and 1980-1988. But the rates
of violent crime that this paper is focusing on are in the recent years. In
1962 the crime rate in Canada was 221 incidents per 100,000 people which rose to
1099 per 100,000 people in 1991. The highest rate of violent crime in Canada in
1991 was in the North West Territory and was at a rate of 6,294 per 100,000
people and the lowest rate was in Prince Edward Island at a rate of 786 per
100,000 people. When the statistics are given, one must wonder as well as to
who is making up the numbers. The factor of age shows that there is a sharp
increase in criminal behaviour during adolescence and the early twenties of a
man's life. The rate falls sharply after that and the following displays the
12 - 24 : 20% of population -- Makeup 35% of violent crimes
45 and over : 32% of the population -- Makeup 10% of violent crime
20 - 34 : 25% of population -- Makeup 62% of inmates in correctional
facilities for violent crimes.
Another quality of these statistics is the factor of gender. The Canadian
population is roughly half and half for a ratio of men and womyn. Yet 85% - 90%
of arrests made by the law enforcement agencies are male and 97% of inmates in
correctional facilities are male as well. It must be noted that in recent years
the rate of womyn being arrested and convicted has also been rising.
Social class is another major factor in these statistics, where the greater
quantity of arrests and convictions for violent crime are individuals who fall
in the lower class part of our society. Yet if these statistics were to include
all crime, the greater quantity of arrests and convictions for crime would be of
a much higher social standing in our society.
Cultural statistics show that it is probably not a genetic or biological
factor that causes individuals to commit violent crimes. It is shown that the
rates of violent crime differ around the world. Bigger countries than Canada
having lower robbery and rape rates than our country. If these acts were based
upon biological factors than bigger countries would have higher rates since
there would be more people within those biological zones that caused violent
Another factor is economical in nature, the following statistics show the
correlation in a small way.
" Decade Decade Average Decade High
1980-88 40% 44.2%(1986)
1970-79 38% 41.3%(1973)
1960-69 37% 38.7%(1964)
1950-59 34% 36.0%(1959)
1940-49 29% 33.1%(1940)
1930-39 35% 43.1%(1933)
1920-29 26% 29.6%(1922)
1910-19 24% 26.6%(1910)
1900-09 24% 26.9%(1900)
1890-99 26% 27.9%(1898)
1880-89 26% 28.5%(1880)
1870-79 22% 28.7%(1879)
1867-69 25% 28.1%(1867)
If the years 1930-39 and 1980-88 are compared, it is found that there were
momentous stock crashes in both of those decades. The stock crash of 1929 was
far greater than that of 1988 but it proves that poor economic times result in
higher rates of crime. With individuals being more desperate and angry at the
world and society they live in. Perhaps even feeling let down by the society
they work to build and create. Why should they respect a society that is not
doing what it is supposed to do for the individual person in that society. The
statistics shown prove that even thought there have been slight dips and rises
in the overall rate of violence, it has been on a gradual increase and shows
increases with poor economic times.
In the opening paragraph, it was asserted that it was on the shoulders of
society for the responsibility of these increases in violent crime. The
following paragraphs are the reasons that will prove my arguments. The forces
of social control affect every aspect of an individual in a society such as
Canadian Society. That is, it is the attempt that society makes to regulate
behaviour of its citizens within that society. Some examples of these society
enforced roles are our status roles which place us into a hierarchy that is
given to us by society. Their are both positive and negative structures and
factors to enforce these laws rules created by the society. Positive being
praise, wealth and power for abiding by the laws of a given society. Negative
enforcers are disgrace, negative praise etc ... and other forms of deterrence
that are created by society. These levels of punishment equal the importance of
the laws that they enforce in the eyes of the society. Laws against criminal
behaviour has the criminal justice system in place to enforce and act as a form
of social control.
"A formal system that responds to the alleged violations of laws using
police, courts and punishments ..."
Therefore although society as a whole sees crime as a personal failure and
a choice of the individual to act upon. Society is the anvil on which ideas of
good and evil are wrought and the ...
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