Metrocide

This week Torontoist is running a great series of posts about murder statistics in Toronto. Much needed, in my opinion, given the attention-starved headline on the latest issue of Toronto Life with a cover story light on data. The Torontoist series (researched and written by David Topping) has featured simple but helpful stats, much more helpful in identifying an actual trend than listing victim stories.

On Tuesday the data showed number of homicides, homicide rate and homicides versus traffic fatalities. Side note: what happened after 2002 to cut traffic fatalities nearly in half over five years?

On Wednesday the focus was central Toronto, as well as the downtown core, showing just how few homicides occur here — despite what media reports might suggest — compared to the rest of the city and the GTA.

On Thursday Toronto was lined up against other Canadian cities (Toronto has a lower homicide rate than Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary, Trois-Rivieres, Regina, Sudbury and Vancouver; its rate is the same rate as Saint John and just higher than Halifax) and North American cities, against which it barely registers:

Toronto’s numbers absolutely pale in comparison to American cities. Its metropolitan homicide rate in 2006 was lower than every American city with a population above 500,000 (charted above). And of the seventy-two American cities with populations over 250,000, Toronto’s 2006 metropolitan homicide rate (1.8 per 100,000) was lower than every other city except for Plano, Texas—the wealthiest city in the United States—which had a homicide rate of 1.6 per 100,000.

There’s far more information, nuance and source reference in the full articles, so I urge you to check them out. The commenters registered the the usual complaints — why all this analysis? more than zero is too many — with which Topping agrees, but data and information like this is crucial in addressing problems accurately in a rational way, rather than emotionally. Don’t get me wrong, emotion has a place in fighting violence, but it has to be tempered with reason. Topping and Torontoist have done a great job of that this week.

[tags]torontoist, david topping, toronto life, gun violence, toronto, homicide rate[/tags]

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