crime and admonishment

Living up to its nickname The Error Banner, the award winning paper ran the headline “Aurora named 30th best place to live in Canada” alongside a photo not of Aurora but downtown Newmarket:

To add insult to injury if you click the link it takes you to a piece with a completely different headline that reads
“Newmarket named best place to live in York Region, 23rd in Canada” :

Aurora’s “exceptional quality of life” was obviously no match for Newmarket’s which placed 7 places above at 23. That’s above where Aurora placed last year when the Town of Aurora rushed to issue a press release about it. I commented on that here:

Back in 2012 I reviewed the methodology behind the Moneysense report of that year in this post here:

There’s even more reason to question this year’s findings, which I will expand on now.

First, here’s a link to the 2015 rankings:

Overall Rankings for York Regional Municipalities : Newmarket (23), Aurora (30), Richmond Hill (36), Vaughan (38th), Markham (71st), Witchurch – Stouffville (124th) and Georgina (136).

East Gwillimbury and King Township failed to make the grade.

So anyone taking a passing glance at this nonsense report will simply see a number and either a) start jumping up for joy and using it as a way to promote their municipality or b) say meh, shrug it off and get back to business. This silly process is then repeated the next time a Moneysense report is released.

Don’t get me wrong it’s important to quantify success and take metrics and this takes me to my next point which is those metrics have to be a reflection of the municipality you’re grading.

In the case of MoneySense’s 2015 report that isn’t the case.

For all the York Region Municipalities shown above they show the idendtical data for the following fields:

Low Crime: yes
Crime Rate – 5-Year Change: -23.2%
Crime Rate Per 100,000: 2,648.8
Crime Severity Index: 32.4
Violent Crime Severity Index: 33.9

This leads me to believe that the data MoneySense is crunching is an average of the entire YorkRegion, and not each municipality specifically.

Why would that be?

You can’t tell me that these measurements are even across the region and that there is no fluctuation between individual cities and towns.

Do you honestly believe crime is the same in Witchurch Stoufville as it is in Vaughan? or that Georgina’s crime is the same as Markham’s?

This is lazy reporting at best, but it also serves to mask the issue of crime in York Region by blending it altogether instead of reflecting it in an open and transparent manner where it occurs.

For that I turned to which offers a range of free statistical tools and factsheets about criminal justice issues, sentencing, and crime rates. It’s database includes data on crime rates, murder rates, property crime rates, robbery rates, prostitution rates, drug-crime rates, and auto-theft rates on more than 2,750 Canadian cities and towns from all provinces.

Crime Rate Data are derived from a range of sources, including the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Uniform Crime Reporting Survey, Statistics Canada, 2008.

Saving the best for last I have included a couple cities for sake of comparison along with their MoneySense ranking.

Waterloo – 16th:,%20ONT.,%20MUNICIPAL,%20ONT.%20-%20(WATERLOO%20REGIONAL,%2035291)&pop=496,370

Aside from Weapons related crimes and Prostitution Waterloo’s crime rates are below the national average. No gangs are reported.

Kingston – 37th:,%20ONT.,%20MUNICIPAL,%20ONT.%20-%20(KINGSTON,%2035151)&pop=119,423

Aside from property crime rate Kingston’s crime rates are below the national average. No gangs are reported.

Toronto – 35th:,%20ONT.,%20MUNICIPAL,%20ONT.%20-%20(TORONTO,%2035304)&pop=2,651,717

So Toronto is a different beast given its population, that said notice that aside from Violent Crime Rate, Murder Rate, Robbery Rate and Prostitution Toronto falls below the national average in all other areas. And that’s considering there are 30 gangs reported in the city.

Now back to Aurora – 30th:,%20ONT.,%20OPP%20%28DISTRICT%29,%20ONT.%20-%20%28AURORA,%2035530%29&pop=405

Aurora ranks below the national average in only 4 areas.  What is somewhat shocking is the huge numbers we pull in for drug related crime, 12,840 vs 305.  The Auto-theft rate is double the national average. Property Crime is 4 times higher, Weapons Related Crime shows as 14 times higher, Assault 3 times higher and Violent Crime twice as high as the national average.

That’s some red flags right there. does include the following caveat:

This information is intended to be used for research purposes only. is not responsible for the accuracy or timeliness of this data.

Now if someone is going to challenge these numbers they also have to challenge those in the MoneySense report as they make no sense at all, and until we start seeing some real data it’s hard for council and staff to claim that Aurora’s in good company, and not in good company for a crime spree.

Watts on your mind?

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