Over the past 20 years, Canada has experienced a decline in crime. Comparing the crime rate in 2000 and 2022, 30% lower crime was recorded than what was the rate in 2000 (Statista Research Department, 2021). Every aspect of criminal activities has also been on the decline thanks to combining efforts from the national government to make Canada safe. This period also saw the rise in drug-rated crimes, which also started to decline since 2011 ( Easton, et al., 2014). The recent move by the authorities to make marijuana legal is also expected to reduce such offenses further.
However, other territories in our country still record the highest number of crimes. The regions include Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut. These regions have proven to be having the highest rate of crimes and violence than other regions. Therefore, this paper seeks to establish if there exists a relationship between crime rates in the country and the presence of immigrants and poverty. The paper will also look to make a comparison between crime rates in urban and rural areas, how poverty contributes to crime, and ways to address them.
From my research, Canada, just like other western countries, Immigrants have the highest rate of poverty compared with the natives. Research carried out in 2000 showed that the poverty rate among immigrants aged 25years to 55 was ranging at 18% higher than the native-born individuals. Poverty also varies significantly in terms of ethnicity. Non- European immigrants have a higher rate of poverty than their counterparts from Europe. Among the Immigrants, Arabs and other west Asians have the highest poverty rate (35%) compared with the Southeast Asians, who account for 19% in total. The study also notes that the recent immigrants in Canada are more susceptible to poverty (Kaida, 2015). Despite having the highest rate of poverty compared with native-born Canadians, they are less likely to be involved in crimes. Part of the reason is that they risk being deported if found engaging in criminal activities. This means the existing crimes in our society have nothing to do with the immigrants’ status but other factors that exist in our community as a whole.
The topic is vital because it serves to reduce the stereotype and discrimination that have been leveled on immigrants. The study will also bring to light how the increase of immigrants in our country will significantly reduce the rate of crimes in our societies.
Literature review theory
Researchers ( Land and Cantor) developed a theoretical framework in their seminar that was intended to establish the relationship between crime and the rate of unemployment ( . One of their suggestions was that a decrease in sustainable economic activities would increase crimes in society. Therefore, unemployed individuals are more likely to be involved in crimes (Janko & Popli, 2015).
The study carried out by Janko and Popli (2015) linked the crime rates partly in our country to unemployment. The latest data indicate that criminal offenders are always unemployed individuals. This number is equivalent to 40% of the total number of offenders (Baron, 2008). Our country boasts of many law-abiding citizens who happened to be unemployed. However, unemployment can be influenced by education levels, delay in learning, and literacy. Individuals who are unemployed and do not have other activities that generate incomes are always in danger of falling into poverty ( Baron, 2008). From the recent research, around 5.9 million Canadians are at risk of falling into poverty and living on low incomes. Schlesinger (2018) insists that we have the tools and necessary resources needed to eradicate poverty in our country.
Immigrants in our country have always been made to be a scapegoat when unpleasant issues arise in our societies e.g., crimes. They were always accused of committing the crimes white the natives are excused. Recently, Muslim immigrants have been subjected to hatred (islamophobia). Given that this country is predominantly Christian, it becomes easier to assume that the minorities who happened to be Muslims are immigrants hence the continued negative perception of them.
The study conducted by the University of Toronto in 2009 showed that crime is decreased by immigration. The data from the statistics (Statistics Canada) further confirmed this conclusion (Statista Research Department, 2021). The data suggested that the overall population of immigrants in Montreal and Toronto is not proportionate to the number of crimes in these cities. The number of immigrants in these regions lowers the crime rate. Before an immigrant can be granted permanent residence, a criminal background check is carried out. The process is only likely to admit law-abiding immigrants, which explains why they are less likely to be involved in illegal activities ( Jung, 2020).
These studies are critical because they literate the importance of having immigrants in our country. Apart from playing a role in reducing the rate of crimes in our societies, they also play a crucial role in developing our economy. Most of the immigrants come being well educated, and this means they can be an asset to our country other than liabilities.
Finding and results
The masses in the country have a different opinion concerning the presence of immigrants in our country. An international survey carried out in 2007 shows 60% of the population believes that immigrants are beneficial to our economy while another 30% believe that the immigrants have the potential of increasing the crimes in our society. Despite the commonly held belief among the public concerning immigration and crime, there is very little evidence to support this notion. On the contrary, research shows that an increase in the population of immigrants is not associated with the crime rates in our cities. The research also further found out that the cities with fewer immigrants have more criminal activities (Jung, 2020).
Criminal activities have always been perceived to be an urban issue. On the other hand, the rural areas have always been associated with calmness and places where there are fewer social problems. In general, many Canadians believe being in the rural is safer than the urban and have high chances of being satisfied with personal safety. However, reports from the police and other studies on the same topic indicate otherwise. In 2017, a police report for police serving in rural areas recorded high crime rates than those serving in urban. Overall, rural recorded was able to record 23% more crimes than the urban areas. The report further recorded that the crimes are not normally distributed throughout rural areas. Some of the rural areas are peaceful (Allen, 2018).
The prison statistics indicate that more and more Canadians have been locked up. One common thing among these people is that most of them do not have proper housing, are in low-paying jobs, and have not achieved much academically. In addition, one study carried out showed that at least one-fifth of the in-custody between the years 2009 and 2010 was homeless by the time of their admission. Two thousand eighteen data showed that 54% of the men incarcerated have attained up to grade 10 education. Furthermore, poverty can increase the chances of an individual engaging in crime.
Figure 1: Statistics
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Center for Justice Statistics.
The graph above compares some of the criminal activities that are committed both in rural and urban centers. From the chart, it is clear that rural may not be as peaceful as sometimes we are made to believe.
The results of my research were very conclusive. From it, my research is fully answered, at least now. Poverty does not increase the rate of crime among immigrants. But this response is subject to change in the future as the number of immigrants keeps on growing. In 2020, our government admitted 180000 new immigrants as permanent residents. The hope is that their influx will not saturate the job market rendering locals jobs. This may increase crimes.
Discussion and Counterargument
My research revolved around poverty, crime, and immigration in our country. Basing my arguments on these three aspects, I successfully established how they are connected. For example, a decrease in sustainable socioeconomic activities may increase crimes. Apart from the sustainable socioeconomic activities, lack of adequate academic qualifications may also force the individuals to engage in criminal activities because they cannot secure jobs that are necessary to sustain them. From the research, it became evident that illegal activities can happen anywhere in the country. They are not just restricted to urban centers only. The research materials were helpful, especially in supporting my arguments.
From the research, I established that immigrants, though not all, have the highest rate of poverty in the country. From the study and the theoretical approach used, poverty makes individuals engage in criminal activities. But with, the immigrants, despite being poor, do not engage in illegal activities. Finding a source that highlights how immigrants engage in criminal activities in our country could have affected my findings and conclusion.
Every material that I have across during my research pointed to the fact that the rate of crime in the country is on the decline. All these declines can be attributed to increased funding of our law enforcement agencies and increased immigrants in major cities, e.g., Montreal. But one document seemed to suggest otherwise concerning immigrants rising rate of crimes compared to the research found. Many native-born Canadians face competition from immigrants in finding jobs because they are willing to work for less. This means a good number are left jobless.
In my paper, I have focused on the three aspects ( crime, poverty, and immigration). If I could have just focused on two factors, maybe my work could have been more thorough than it is now.
I was able to find almost all of my research materials in the library. I did not have any difficulty accessing them. However, I had to look for extra materials from the statistic websites.
Crime rates in the country have always been on the decline. The government has dedicated resources, significantly reinforcing the law enforcing agency to fight crimes. Almost 5.9 million Canadian live on low incomes and are in danger of falling into poverty. Poverty contributes to the rate of crimes in our cities and parts of the country. Immigrants play an essential role in our country. Apart from providing labor to markets, their presence in our cities also reduces the rate of crime in these regions.
My research points to a conclusion. The crime rates are decreasing in our country, and immigrants do not contribute to an increased crime rate, but they aid in reducing. The decline in the rate of crimes is also attributed to the government’s effort to ensure that all Canadians are safe.
This topic is critical because it demystifies the unjustified stereotype and hate aimed at immigrants for crimes in our society. In recent years, our government has opened doors for immigrants. I believe their role and contribution to our country must be recognized and appreciated. The government has done much to curb crime, but I believe there is always room for improvement.
Allen, M. 2018. “Police report on crime statistics, 2017”. Statistics Canada
Baron, S. W. (2008). Street Youth, Unemployment, and Crime: Is It That Simple? Using General Strain Theory to Untangle the Relationship. Canadian Journal of Criminology & Criminal Justice, 50(4), 399–434. https://doi.org/10.3138/cjccj.50.4.399
Benjamin Schlesinger. (2018). Poverty in Canada and the United States: Overview and Annotated Bibliography. University of Toronto Press.
Easton S, Furness H, Brantinghamam P. The Coast of Crimes in Canada: 2014. Report Fraser Institutes;2014.
Janko, Z., & Popli, G. (2015). Examining the link between crime and unemployment: a time-series analysis for Canada. Applied Economics, 47(37), 4007–4019. https://elibrary.alexandercollege.ca:2108/10.1080/00036846.2015.1023942
Jung, M. (2020). Immigration and Crime in Canadian Cities: A 35-Year Study. Canadian Journal of Criminology & Criminal Justice, 62(1), 71–97. https://elibrary.alexandercollege.ca:2108/10.3138/cjccj.2019-0015
Kaida, L. (2015). Ethnic Variations in Immigrant Poverty Exit and Female Employment: The Missing Link. Demography (Springer Nature), 52(2), 485–511. https://elibrary.alexandercollege.ca:2108/10.1007/s13524-015-0371-8
Statista Research Department. (2021, July 27). Homicide rate by metro area in Canada. Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/433691/homicide-rate-in-canada-by-metropolitan-area/