Crimes against the person are skyrocketing in Quebec

(Quebec) Crimes against the person increased in the capital in 2021, a worrying trend also seen in Montreal and the rest of the province. In Quebec, police specifically attribute this increase to a number of reports of domestic violence.

Posted at 5:00 am

Gabriel Beland

Gabriel Beland
The press

The Service de Police de la Ville de Québec (SPVQ) counted 7,485 crimes against the person last year, a 16% increase from the 2015-2020 average. Crimes against the person include manslaughter, sexual assault, assault, threats, etc.

Assaults and threats have increased significantly, as has sexual assault (from 296 in 2020 to 424 in 2021). The number of homicides remained stable.

“The increase in assault and threats offenses is primarily due to an increase in reports of domestic violence situations,” David Pelletier, spokesman for the SPVQ, said in an email.

The SPVQ sees this as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, in which people have faced multiple episodes of confinement that have affected their daily lives, even their family and/or marital situation.

David Pelletier, spokesman for the SPVQ

In fact, the number of attacks has skyrocketed. We went from 3,483 incidents in 2020 to 4,060 in 2021. The number of cases of criminal harassment (from 569 to 747) and the number of cases of threats (1,369 to 1,577) also increased significantly.

The increase is particularly high compared to 2020, the year in which crimes against the person in the context of detention decreased. But the figures for 2021 are also higher than those for 2019.

The SPVQ is also of the opinion that “a greater general sensitization of the population means that the victims are more inclined to denounce, file charges and thus take legal action”.

At the Regroupement des Centers pour Femmes Victims de Violence Conjugale, this increase in reports comes as no surprise.

“We have indeed seen an increase in domestic violence and assaults experienced by women in the requests for services and testimonies from women,” says Louise Riendeau, co-responsible for political files.

“So it doesn’t surprise me that the SPVQ comes to the same conclusion,” she adds, noting that some women have been caught “with their spouse 24 hours a day.”

Fewer crimes than in 1990

This phenomenon of an increase in crimes against the person is not unique to Quebec. In the metropolitan area, they have increased by 17% in five years, according to the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal. They also peaked in the Sûreté du Québec area in 2021.

This increase in the number of crimes against individuals comes in a context where crime in the country has decreased significantly since the 1990s. After peaking in 1991, the country’s crime rate continued to decline until 2014, when it slowly began to rise again.


Crime rate per 100,000 population in Canada

“It is difficult to say whether the current rise is the start of a longer-term rise. If we are at the beginning of an increase to reach peaks, that’s a little more worrying,” says Rémi Boivin, professor of criminology at the University of Montreal, who recalls that “compared to the 1990s, crime is at its lowest today at a very low level”.

The latest data from Statistics Canada for 2021 will be known this summer and will give an idea of ​​the development. In recent years, crimes have increased every year except 2020, which was marked by numerous prison sentences.

“You can’t really speak of a trend below five. After five years, you can already speak of an upward trend,” says Rémi Boivin.

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