Selected crime statistics for New Brunswick and Maritime Provinces from Statistics Canada Tables.
Table: 35-10-0076-01 (formerly CANSIM 254-0002) Police personnel and selected crime statistics
Table: 35-10-0177-01 (formerly CANSIM 252-0051) Incident-based crime statistics, by detailed violations, police services in the Atlantic provinces
Below you will find data from Statistics Canada on crime incidence, crime severity (see note from Statistics Canada on how the crime severity index is calculated), and numbers of police officers (municipal and RCMP). Data in the charts below go back as far as 1998. You may also consult the Province of New Brunswick’s Public Safety Crime Dashboard. At the time this page was written, the dashboard only goes back 5 years (although they use the same data), which is not so helpful for perspective.
Nationally, the number of police officers per resident was about the same in 1998 as in 2021. After 1998, numbers increased gradually but then fell back to the same level. For NB (and other Maritime provinces), there was a similar pattern. However, NB has now fallen below the number of officers per resident in 1998. In Prince Edward Island (PE), numbers have also fallen relative to 1998, but not in Nova Scotia (NS). In NB, crime rates per resident have fluctuated over the years, but are currently below those of 1998 (although rising). NS and PE are not seeing the same rate of rise in recent years. The Crime Severity Index for NB is rising but still lower than in 1998. CSI values for NS and PE are either not rising as quickly or falling.
The last 3 charts show crime rate per resident over time for several locations in NB. As you can see there’s a great deal of annual fluctuation. The Codiac region, which includes Moncton (NB’s largest population centre), is notable for a marked increase in crime per resident. That increase, because of Moncton’s size, might drive quite a bit of the Province’s rising incidents of crime in recent years. For most of the communities shown here (and it is an arbitrary selection), crime rates aren’t that different than in 1998.
Municipalities that have their own police forces can of course respond to rising crime by hiring more officers, which might have implications for property tax rates. In rural NB, most policing is provided via provincial contracts with the RCMP. In theory, the local services portion of rural property taxes should cover those costs. But several analyses have shown that rural property taxes are too low for that purpose. Recent municipal reforms are expected to gradually transfer more of the costs of rural policing services to rural residents. Presumably, elected rural municipal or regional councils could obtain more policing by agreeing to pay for their own municipal forces.
Note: In the charts below, you can hover with your cursor over a particular curve. The chart will then show the value from the Statistics Canada table for that particular variable and time.
Calculation of crime severity index (CSI) by Statistics Canada:
“The Crime Severity Index (CSI) measures changes in the level of severity of crime in Canada from year to year. In the index, all crimes are assigned a weight based on their seriousness. The level of seriousness is based on actual sentences handed down by the courts in all provinces and territories. More serious crimes are assigned higher weights, less serious offences lower weights. As a result, more serious offences have a greater impact on changes in the index. The PRCSI is standardized to 100 in base year 2006. CSI weights are updated using data from the Integrated Criminal Courts Survey (ICCS) every 5 years. 2017 marks the second update to the CSI weights since 1998. 2016 revised and 2017 CSI data are presented here using the updated weights and may have a marginal impact on the CSI data itself.”
“A high crime rate or Crime Severity Index (CSI) may indicate that a municipality is a geographical area that provides commercial business, human or public services, or entertainment for many people who reside outside, as well as inside, the municipality. As a result, these municipalities may have large part-time or temporary populations which are excluded from both their population bases and their crime rate and CSI calculations.”