Major crime indicators rising in Toronto and downtown

By Megan Bocchinfuso –

Toronto as a whole as well as 51 Division has seen major increases in assault, sexual violation and auto theft in the last five years, according to data on major crime indicators posted at the Toronto Police Service’s Public Safety Data Portal.

Between 2019 and 2020, assaults across Toronto went down 13 per cent (from 21,094 to 18,322) but went back to 21,400 in 2022, after the pandemic. In 2023, reported assaults have numbered 6,816 to April 24, surpassing the 5,762 cases as of the same date a year ago.

Also on the rise are sexual violations: 3,020 across Toronto in 2022, compared with 2,835 in 2018. In the Downtown East’s 51 Division, there were 238 sexual violations in 2022, an increase of 23 per cent from 2021’s 194. (In 2020, the first pandemic year, the number had decreased 19 per cent.)

Auto theft across Toronto doubled from 4,821 cases in 2018 to 9,664 in 2022. Up to April 24 this year, 3,685 auto thefts have occurred, 35 per cent more than the 2,728 cases as of the same date a year ago. In the middle of the pandemic, auto theft in Moss Park increased 22 per cent in 2021 from 2020 and 2019, when it had been decreasing (5 per cent down in 2020 and 15 per cent in 2019).

Auto theft spiked because of the pandemic, Toronto Police Services speculates. And vehicles that tempt thieves are more sophisticated and expensive than ever, Alexandre Desoutter, editor-in-chief of HelloSafe insurance comparison company, pointed out.

Ontario’s most stolen cars in 2021 were the 2018 Lexus RX and the 2019 Honda CR-V. HelloSafe recorded one car stolen every 48 minutes.
“While stolen vehicles were historically destined for the local second-hand market, there are now international networks operating from the port of Montreal, from where the stolen vehicles are sent abroad,” Desoutter said.