Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Crime strikes at home (if you're Canadian)

I know it's our neighbor to the North, and it's a lovely country, but I've been ignoring most of the piffle and blather that has emerged from official Canada's mouth (that is, from politicians and the press) in recent months and years. I just don't get the Canadian way of doing things lately, insofar as Canada has broken free from its old-fashioned, stable past. (And yes, I know I'm all opinion here and no facts, but it's my post so I can do what I want, and I'm getting to the facts that count in a minute.) Canada's most recent blather is to look at the murder rate in Toronto and blame it on the U.S.:

After a spasm of heart-rending, frightening violence, Toronto's Mayor, David Miller, and its news media want Torontonians to remember one thing: The city is very, very safe. Really. "Chicago: 445 homicides. Washington D.C.: 195 homicides. Baltimore: 268 homicides. Toronto: 78 homicides." So opened a story in Sunday's Toronto Star. If there is any problem in Toronto, the Mayor insists, it is traceable to the United States: "The U.S. is exporting its problem of violence to the streets of Toronto," David Miller complained on Dec. 27.
In and of itself, this "blame America" viewpoint is not newsworthy (it's definitely a dog bites man type story). What makes it interesting is the fact that Dave Frum attacks this blather with a factual arsenal that included some facts that completely surprised me:
America's crime problem has dramatically improved, while Canada's is becoming seriously worse. Toronto's 78 homicides in 2005 appears to compare favorably to the homicide totals of the three American cities cited by the Star. But those 78 Toronto homicides in 2005 represent a 28% increase over the 61 homicides recorded in Toronto in 1995. Meanwhile, the three U.S. cities cited by the Star each achieved dramatic decreases over the past decade: Chicago down 46% from 823, Washington down 46% from 365, Baltimore down 17% from 322. More broadly: Canada's overall crime rate is now 50% higher than the crime rate in the United States. Read that again slowly--it seems incredible, but it's true. It's true too that you are now more likely to be mugged in Toronto than in New York City.
I know that the same is true for England: they may have banned guns, but their crime rate is skyrocketing. (Apparently the NRA was right all along when it said that, if you criminalize gun ownership, only criminals will have guns.) I have no specific point to make with this post. I suggest you read Frum's whole article, which I found interesting, and I'm sure you'll draw your own conclusions.