Violent crime involving firearms down five per cent: Statistics Canada

Seized firearms are displayed during an RCMP and Crime Stoppers news conference at RCMP headquarters in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck 

CTV News/OTTAWA – Newly released statistics show that violent crime involving firearms dropped five per cent in Canada between 2020 and 2021.

According to Statistics Canada, violent crime in general went up four per cent, but a decrease in firearm-related crime in urban areas, including Toronto, led to the drop in violent crime with guns.

In Toronto, the rate of firearm-related crime — meaning that a firearm is present during an offence and police decide that its presence is relevant to the crime — was 22 per cent lower in 2021 than the year before.

However, across the country, the rate of gun-related violent crime was still 25 per cent higher than 10 years earlier.

Last year, physical assault, robbery and firearm-specific Criminal Code violations, such as pointing a firearm, accounted for 80 per cent of offences involving firearms.

Just over 8,000 people were victims of crimes that involved the use of a firearm, representing 2.6 per cent of all victims of violent crime.

And handguns were involved in 54 per cent of violent crime with firearms, the agency says.

MPs are studying legislation to further restrict the availability of what the government considers assault-style firearms, and federal regulations aimed at capping the number of handguns in Canada are already in effect.

Weapons that were more commonly used during violent offences in 2021 included knives, burning liquid or caustic agents and blunt instruments.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 12, 2022.