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Violent crime up seven per cent in 2021: OPS annual report

The data for 2021 also shows the level of reported crime increased by eight per cent and the demand for police service was up seven per cent.
2018-07-12 ottawa police headquarters MV6
Ottawa Police Service headquarters on Elgin Street. Mike Vlasveld/ OttawaMatters

The Ottawa Police Service (OPS) has released its 2021 annual report.

This report includes an overview of the number of calls for service, police response times and actions taken to support victims of crime, among other data. 

According to the report, the level of reported crime increased by eight per cent in 2021, compared with 2020, with approximately 36,260 reported Criminal Code of Canada offences (excluding traffic). The volume of reported violent crimes increased by seven per cent, driven by assaults, sexual violations, and threats. 

There were reported 15 homicides, with nearly 80 per cent solved to-date, and the number of shootings returned to historical levels with 82 incidents. Additionally, OPS officers seized 80 crime guns through work to address street violence.

The data also shows demand for OPS service was up seven per cent in 2021 with nearly 357,000 requests. That translates into 24,000 more calls through the dispatch system and 800 online reports. 

Other highlights of the report include:

  • The clearance rate for total Criminal Code offences (excluding traffic) declined by two per cent, with 32 per cent of all cases cleared by charge or cleared otherwise.
  • Ottawa's crime severity index (CSI) increased by four per cent last year to 50 points (violent CSI 12 per cent; non-violent CSI one per cent).
  • Property related offences increased by five per cent in 2021 primarily due to increases in the number of thefts, including thefts from motor vehicles.
  • OPS officers issued over 40,000 tickets, and 690 part III charges for stunt driving.
  • The number of collisions on local roadways declined by five per cent to 10,800, while fatalities increased by 25 per cent to 20.
  • Naloxone was administered by officers 85 times to help save lives last year.

"Together with the community, we are rebuilding public trust, continuing to address systemic racism and violence against women, promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion, increasing our outreach efforts to ensure greater diversity among candidates during hiring processes, and contributing to our communities through neighbourhood policing," said Steve Bell, interim police chief, in a release. 

Bell added, there is more work to be done, including the co-development of a use of force review committee, made up of police and community members to review reports on police use of force incidents.

Other new actions and measures to be taken include: 

  • A new, diverse hiring class that is representative of the community
  • Hiring an equity and race data specialist and building a community data hub for increased data transparency.

"I am proud to be a part of the Ottawa police and proud of the people I work with as much as I am proud of my Ottawa community," Bell said. "We care about the community and want to be the police service this community deserves and needs."

The 2021 report, along with ward data maps, is now available at ottawapolice.ca.

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