Montreal's Vital Signs 2010
If we have a tendency to overestimate street gangs, itís undoubtedly because of their extreme violence and because they pave the way for a life of crime. Even though Montreal is a relatively safe place, we must not let down our guard.
  • pictogramme balanceIn 2009, Greater Montreal occupied a midway position in respect to crime, between that of Toronto and Vancouver. And these statistics are decreasing. All of these crimes were lower than the Canadian average, with the exception of vehicle theft. And all were greater than the Quebec average, with the exception of criminal traffic violations.1

  • In 2008, the hate crime rate aimed at a specific group was 1 in 100,000 residents, while in metropolitan areas of a similar size, it was at least four times higher (4.2). 2
  • In Greater Montreal, the number of immigrants who were satisfied with their level of personal safety increased from 76% to 92% between 1993 and 2004, while Toronto experienced a smaller increase (from 87% to 93%) and the situation in Vancouver was more stable (from 86% to 90%) in this regard. 3

  • On the island, the number of domestic infractions has been declining since 2001 (with the exception of 2005), but increased to 5,614 in 2008. And 82.6% of the victims of these misdemeanours were women. 4

  • The majority (84.6%) of the 1,265 registered sexual offences on the island in 2008 were inflicted on women, divided almost equally among minors as adults. On the other hand, boys are five times more likely to be targeted (12.8%) than men (2.6%). 5

  • The Greater Montreal area has a lower rate of juvenile delinquency than all other Canadian metropolitan regions, with the exception of Quebec City. 6

  • From 2001 to 2007, adult crime decreased by 19% on the island, and juvenile crime by 16%. Violent offences by youth at school experienced a decrease of 10%, dropping from 541 to 488. 7

  • In 2001, nearly 14% of all those suspected of crimes identified by the Montreal police were young people from 12 to 17 years of age. Among the cases in question, 42% were violent crimes, 45% property infractions, and 11% involved drugs. 6

  • In 2001, on the island, adolescents were involved in 11% of drug related infractions. They involved possession (71%) and trafficking (13%) of cannabis. By comparison, possession of cannabis only represented 42% of drug related infractions by adults, while cocaine trafficking (15%) and possession (14%) were approximately four times more frequent among adults than youth. 6

  • In 2007, youth on the island were primarily involved in three types of offenses: assault (62%), threats and extortion (18.8%), and robberies (13.8%). 7

  • In 2007, adolescents were involved in 12% of violent crimes, a figure that represents 6.5% of the population on the island. The percentages were similar for sexual assault (13%) and assault (12%). In particular, nearly one in five robberies (18%) can be attributed to youth, a finding which highlights a particular problem among youth: bullying with extortion. 7

  • In 2007, firearms were used in 2% of violent acts committed by young people on the island, and sharp objects in 7% of cases. In the majority of situations (70%), physical force or verbal violence was used. 7

  • The act of repeatedly committing a crime is particular to juvenile delinquency. In 2007, among 12 to 17 year olds on the island, violent crimes were committed by groups, a figure that dropped to 22% among 18-25 year olds and to 8% among older youth. 7
  • On the island, in 2007, adolescents were frequently involved in street gang-related crimes (one in three cases), but these violent occurrences only represented a small number (one case in ten) of juvenile crimes. 7

  • On the whole, crime attributed to street gangs represented 1.6% of criminal acts committed in the Montreal area in 2009; 0.3% involved property crimes, 3% assault, and 4% crimes against a person. Even though these numbers have decreased in the last 3 years, the proportion of homicides (16%) and attempted murder (35%) related to street gangs should be vigilantly monitored. 8
  • Of the 2,819 crimes committed against a person in 2007 on the island involving a young victim, 283 (9%) were related to street gangs. 7

  • In 2007, 26% of victims of sexual assaults that were reported to the Montreal Police force were adolescents, which accounts for 3% of the population on the island, almost nine times their demographic weight; also, girls were the victims of 12.8% of sexual assaults (twice their weight). Boys from 12 to 17 years of age, who represented 3.3% of the population, were the victims of 12.6% of all robberies reported in 2007 (close to four times their weight). 7

  • In 2001, on the island, in cases where at least one presumed perpetrator was 12 to 17 years of age, the victims were in the same age group (44%), or were between 18 and 24 years of age (15%), and residents 65 years of age and older only accounted for 1% of victims. 6
  • Since 2003, the Montreal Police force listed an average of 4,500 runaways per year. 9

  • On the island, in 2006-2007, there were 2,168 cases (6% more than in 1996-1997) where the safety or development of a young person was comprised, and the Youth Protection Act needed to be invoked to protect them. And similar to ten years ago (1,602), 1,633 of these were new cases, with a slightly lower population of minors (-2.7%). However, during this period, the waiting time to evaluate a reported incident decreased from 19.6 to 8.6 days, an improvement of 56%. 10
  • In 2008-2009, on the island, one in four reports of youth who were in need of protection (77%) came from the health sector (28%), the police department (28%) and the school sector (21%); others stemmed from families (15%) or half as often, from someone in the community (8%). Of all of these reports, 3,679 were acted on, representing 45% of the total: two out of three involved cases of negligence (33%) and physical abuse (30%); poor psychological treatments affected less than half of young people (15%), while behaviour problems (11%) and sexual abuse (11%) affected a similar proportion of youth. Children 5 years of age or younger suffered more from negligence and from poor psychological treatments; behavioural problems were more frequent among adolescents [12 to 17 years of age], while physical and sexual abuse particularly affected the 6 to 11 year old age group. 11
  • In the poorest areas on the island, more young pedestrians (8 times more), young cyclists (4 times more) and young passengers (3 times more), were injured at intersections than in more affluent areas. 12
  • In 2006, the average number of Montreal drivers involved in an accident with injuries was 5.2 out of 1,000 license holders. For drivers 65 years of age and older, the average number was 2.8, and for drivers 75 years of age and older, 3.4. Seniors, who represented 13% of all licensed drivers on the island, were on average involved in 7% of accidents with injuries per year. However, they were also overrepresented in serious or fatal accidents. 13
  • From 2007 to 2009, in Greater Montreal, victims of serious accidents (3.6%) or fatal accidents (0.4%) accounted for 4% of some 8,500 annual traffic injuries. 14
  • In 2006, pedestrians 65 years of age and older comprised 15% of the population on the island, but represented 37% of pedestrians killed as a result of a collision. 13

dotThe majority of disputes within the city involving neighbours, business people, visitors or itinerants are easily resolved. But when they persist, and communication between parties isnít possible, these disputes are often turned over to the police or the courts. Now, thanks to the work of several local business people, there is a viable and impartial alternative in which conflicts may be resolved: a team of urban mediators, located in the downtown core, have helped resolve the tensions of the homeless for the last three years; their focus is on harmonious social cohabitation in the public domain. It is a unique and innovative approach Ė voluntary, confidential and free Ė that will hopefully extend to other neighbourhoods in the future. 15


1 Crime statistics (based on incidents), by detailed violations, Canadian centre for justice statistics, Incident-based uniform crime reporting survey, Cansim Tables 252-0013 and 252-0051, Statistics Canada

2 Hate crimes reported by police, by census metropolitan area, 2007 and 2008, Statistics Canada

3 How satisfied are immigrants with their personal safety? By Colin Lindsay, Statistics Canada, 2008

4 Statistiques 2008 sur la criminalité commise dans un contexte conjugal au Québec, ministère de la Sécurité publique, 2009, 57 p.

5 Statistiques 2008 sur les agressions sexuelles au Québec, ministère de la Sécurité publique, 2010, 55 p.

6 Neighbourhood characteristics and the distribution of crime on the Island of Montreal: Additional analysis on youth crime, by Samuel Perreault, Josée Savoie and Frédéric Bédard, Statistics Canada, 2008, 27 p.

7 La violence chez les jeunes : un portrait chiffré de la délinquance et de la victimisation, par Maurizio D’Elia, Service de police de la Ville de Montréal, 2009, 14 p.

8 Actualités. Gang de rue, Service de police de la Ville de Montréal, février 2010, 8 p.

9 Runaways, Service de police de la Ville de Montréal

10 Indicateurs repères relatifs à l'application de la Loi sur la protection de la jeunesse, selon la région sociosanitaire du centre jeunesse, Québec, 1996-1997 et 2006-2007, Institut de la Statistique du Québec

11 Bilan DPJ 2008-2009, Centre jeunesse de Montréal – Institut universitaire, Montréal, 2009, 16 p.

12 Assurer la protection et la sécurité des enfants, ce droit s’applique-t-il aux routes montréalaises ? Par Patrick Morency, Direction de santé publique, Agence de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal, 2009

13 Les moyens de transport et la mobilité des aînés montréalais: intervenir face au vieillissement de la population, Table de concertation des aînés de l’île de Montréal et Conférence régionale des élus de Montréal, 2009, 99 p.

14 Bilans routiers 2007, 2008 et 2009, Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec

15 Trajet (organisme de justice alternative), par Caroline Lemay