Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Bah-nanada


The Drudge Report today linked to this story: USA is exporting its violence to Canada, says Canadian PM...

Lo and behold, Prime Minister Martin must be right, because in 2004 Canada’s rate of violent crime per 100,000 people was 946. That same year, continuing a decline that began in 1994, the US recorded 465 violent crimes per 100,000.

Not only that, but US Homicide rates recently declined to levels last seen in the late 1960s and have been stable since 2000.

While gun ownership is up, US rates of nonfatal firearm crime have declined since 1994, reaching the lowest level ever recorded in 2004.

Violent crime in general has also declined in the US.

Where did all this crime go? To Paul Martin, Prime Minister of a country where the national homicide rate increased 12% in 2004, the answer is obvious – it was exported to Canada. It must be NAFTA, the North American Firearm Trafficking Arrangement.

Toronto Mayor David Miller is facing the fact that gun deaths have doubled in his city since 2004 and won’t be left out of any scapegoating:
"The U.S. is exporting its problem of violence to the streets of Toronto," he said.

Miller said that while almost every other crime in Toronto is down, the supply of guns has increased and half of them come from the United States.
Hizzoner is apparently unaware of his own police department’s statistics on the supply side of the equation. By October 2005, Toronto police had seized 1,782 guns compared to 2,128 in 2004.

So where’s the increased supply? Even if Miller is right about the source, he looks wrong about an increase.

Actually, he’s also blowing smoke on the source. Nobody knows where these already illegal guns come from and since handguns have been effectively banned in Canada since 1930, it suggests one consider the possibility that what we have here is an enforcement problem.

The Mayor claims that Toronto is awash in guns that the Toronto Police cannot find, but insists that if they were found the guns would have come from the United States.

Where there are solid numbers it shows less than half of the Mayor’s “half” of the guns in question originate in the US. In 2004, the Toronto Police Gun and Gang Task force had the following breakdown on sources of guns:
Toronto Police Service records show that in the period of January 01st to September 9th, 2003 a total of 1468 firearms have been submitted to the Property Evidence Management Unit for a variety of reasons, including evidence, held for investigation, safekeeping and destruction. Of these, 183 have been determined to meet the definition of a crime gun. It is this number, one hundred and eighty-three (183) crime guns, that presents the only opportunity for analysis to determine how many smuggled firearms are actually used in Toronto crime.

The Gang and Gun Task Force have determined that one hundred and thirty-nine (139) of these crime guns fall into the following categories:

- 26 long barrelled firearms
- 11 firearms registered in Canada
- 5 reported as stolen
- 4 firearms were never issued a serial number by manufacturer
- 16 were too old to be traced for ownership
- 32 had their serial numbers obliterated
- 45 are still under investigation

…[Forty-four] (44) of the one hundred and eighty-three (183) crime guns have been submitted for tracing to the United States Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives (BATFE). To date 30 of the 44 submitted guns have been traced to a United States based first retail purchaser. Therefore, assuming that all 44 submitted guns are successfully traced to a United States origin, only 24% of traceable known crime guns, as previously defined, have been smuggled into Canada.

…Overall, the Service seized 2020 firearms during 2003, including the 80 guns seized by Gangs and Guns and Street Violence Task Forces during its 4 months existence. The Gangs and Guns Task Force and the Street Violence Task Force have arrested 353 persons facing 1,017 criminal charges, mostly dealing with firearms and drugs offences. There are 73 street level youth gangs of various descriptions operating in the City, involved in dealing drugs, intimidation, extortion, firearms crimes, and disputes and battles over territorial supremacy whose members are ruthless and predisposed to violence including gun play in very public places without regard for human life. In spite of the impressive success achieved by the Gangs and Guns and Street Violence Task Forces during 2003 gunplay in the City rose by an alarming 35% over the previous year.

During 2003, it became more obvious than ever that the current system of criminal justice is virtually broken and in need of a major overhaul. Be it the inadequate sentencing provisions, the high recidivism rate of violent criminals, the extraordinary labour intensive bureaucratic requirements and processes imposed on police, the unreasonable disclosure demands, the protracted criminal trials, the lax bail and parole provisions, and much more are all factors that compromise the effectiveness of the current criminal justice system.
Sounds more like an enforcement question to Toronto cops, too; as it does to John Lott writing at National Review Online. He discredited the claim that the US is responsible for the Toronto street gangs or the Canadian justice system last August, reminding us that Australia and Britain have also experienced large increases in gun crime since banning firearms.

An American example would be Washington D.C.. The most gun-restrictive city in the United States, it has the highest rate of gun crime.

Finally, I noted in the story about yesterday’s shootings that one of those wounded was a police officer who is banned from carrying his firearm while off-duty. Perhaps if he had had his weapon there’d be one less murder in Toronto this year. Perhaps Mayor Miller should ponder that before he starts mewling.

Update: 5:46PM Bill Strong points out, in a comment at Dust My Broom, that Rudy Giuliani's success (New York’s murder rate plummeted by 70%) in New York didn't come from whining anti-Americanism and also has a good post on this topic.

4 comments:

PGP said...

Interesting data......
And to sum it up all you need to say is that the majority of gun crime in Canada is the result of ongoing criminal activity.

The reason we have escalating amounts of criminal activity is weak laws and failed judicial systems.
As long as spinless politicians are allowed to put the agenda of political correctness ahead of good sense and sound thinking there will continue to be more crime.

2sheds said...

Hersh, I appreciate your efforts to debunk the Prime Minister’s and the Mayor’s inane comments. Please understand that I completely agree with the premise that they are spouting nonsense in an effort to re-direct the blame to the U.S.

But I’ll suggest that both you and Bill Strong (thanks for the link to Hersh’s site, Bill) need to be sceptical about some of the statistics presented by the pro-gun lobby. For example, whenever I see something along the lines of Lott’s “…Canada’s reported violent-crime rate … (is) about twice the U.S.’s…”, my bullshit meter ends up being pinned.

That particular myth is easily dispelled by following the links you provided. According to the FBI site, “violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.” But according to Statistics Canada, violent crime includes eight categories of offence, two of which have multiple levels. Not only do the Canadian numbers include attempted murders, but all levels of assault (not just aggravated), and all levels of sexual assaults and other sexual offences (not just rape). So it’s natural the Canadian rates will be greater, due to simple differences in definition.

However, when you compare violent crime apples-to-apples, U.S. rates come out quite a bit higher. For example, using those same sources, the U.S. murder rate per 100,000 in 2004 was 5.5, while Canada’s was 1.9. For robberies, the U.S. rate was 136.7, for Canada it was 86.

(And yes, Hersh, Canada’s rate for 2004 was 12% higher than the previous year, but as noted by Stats Canada, the rate for 2003 was a 36 year low!)

So Canada has lower rates of violent crime than the U.S. As a result, any inferences drawn based on the assertion that “Canada has a higher violent crime rate” are definitely suspect.

Arguments like “blame the Americans” and “make illegal handguns more illegal” are silly enough, all on their own. We should counter them with solid facts and arguments, not defective statistics that are easily attacked. When stats are put forward that don’t pass the sniff test, it undermines the credibility of the rest of the argument.

Meanwhile thanks for the material from the Gun and Gang Task Force...very interesting.

TonyGuitar said...

Toronto must do as NYC has done.

New York City’s past mayor enlisted *the cure*! His name is William J. Bratton.

Crime Fighting – Police Model [From Dec 29/05 *The Current* CBC]

From Nunavut to New York City for the last half of the 20th century, New York was known around the world for its skyrocketing crime rate and terrifying murder statistics.

But today, the city is considered one of the safest big cities in North America---even the world. One of the people often credited with turning the city's reputation around is William J. Bratton. He was appointed police commissioner in 1994, which is when he introduced tough new crime-fighting measures. He is now chief of police in Los Angeles, and that is where we reached him by telephone.

Listen to The Current: http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/2005/200512/20051229.html

http://TonyGuitar.Blogspot.com

noel said...

The facts are, in 2004, that New York had a murder rate per 100,000 of 7. On the other hand Toronto came in at 1.8 Winnipeg, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary all had a higher murder rate

http://www.statcan.ca/Daily/English/050721/d050721a.htm
Noel