Statistic Canada says fewer crimes were reported to Canadian police last year than in 2012 — the 10th consecutive annual decrease — but there was an increase in reports of sexual offences against children.
Fewer break-ins and robberies were a big part of the overall decrease, Statistics Canada said Wednesday when it released its crime severity index.
"However, some offences were up in 2013. In particular, police services reported more incidents of extortion, child pornography, aggravated sexual assault, sexual violations against children and identity fraud," the report says.
The sharp contrast is largely due to an increase in kids using the Internet, which makes them more accessible to predators, said London police Det. Insp. Kevin Heslop. But it's also due to an increase in awareness of parents.
"What we are seeing is an increase in offences reported to police," said Heslop.
"We've got kids talking to parents, parents talking to kids, safety measures in place. And as parents and kids talk more, we certainly have more calls from parents than in prior years."
There were just over 1.8 million criminal reports to Canadian police services in 2013, an 8% drop of approximately 132,000 from 2012. Violent crimes reported to police also dropped 10%, from approximately 416,000 in 2012 to 384,000 in 2013.
There was an increase in cases of sexual violations against children, which includes luring a child via computer, sexual exploitation, sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching and making sexually explicit material available to a child.
- with files from Jennifer O'Brien