Data qualifiers and limitations

Overview

The crime and offence data that comprise the quarterly Crime Stat Reports are drawn from the provincial Police Records Information Management Environment (PRIME), a live records management system which captures crime and occurrences that are either reported to or discovered by police in BC. However, not all crime and occurrences are reported or otherwise brought to the attention of police.

Incidents reported to police may result in one or more offences or violations being counted (i.e., scored as founded). Through investigation police determine or substantiate which offences, if any, took place. All reported incidents are considered founded at the outset, but may be determined to be unsubstantiated upon investigation.

The summary information in the Crime Stat Reports should be considered preliminary incident data and may not represent statistics submitted to the Canadian Center for Justice Statistics (CCJS). The data is subject to change for a variety of reasons, including late reporting and reclassification due to changes in circumstance, the stage and/or outcome of an investigation, or corrective action taken for quality assurance purposes. Such changes can affect the number and nature of offences recorded in PRIME.

Report Methodology

Crime data for the quarterly reports is typically extracted from PRIME two weeks following the end of a quarter. The data extracted includes that for the current year, as well as the year previous. Year-to-date totals therefore reflect the most current data (i.e., the data pertaining to all quarters in the two years is updated, or refreshed, and thus may differ from that published previously).

The data extracted includes all ‘founded’ incidents for all crimes and crime types (i.e., not just the most serious) occurring within the municipality of Surrey and for which the Surrey RCMP was the primary investigative unit. Unsubstantiated crimes or incidents deemed to be unfounded are not included. Private files or files marked Invisible are also not included.

Homicide data, provided by the Integrated Homicide Investigation team (IHIT) based on their (privatized) investigational files, has been included for reference only. Surrey homicide figures are not included in the Violent Crime or Criminal Code totals.

As per CCJS UCR II scoring rules, person (violent) crime offences are typically counted by the number of victims. Violent Crime figures extracted from PRIME are under-counted; they do not account for violent crimes with more than one victim (person targeted). The exception is the homicide data provided by IHIT.

Criminal Code offences are presented in three major categories: crimes against persons (violent crimes), crimes against property (property crimes) and other Criminal Code offences. Summarized data for select offences (crime types) are highlighted within each of these crime categories, but additional offence types are included in the category totals.

These Criminal Code categories do not include drug related (CDSA) offences, which have been reported separately, or offences under other federal statutes such as the Customs Act or the Canada Shipping Act. They also do not include offences under provincial statutes, Criminal Code traffic offences, provincial and municipal traffic offences, or other municipal by-law infractions.

Other Considerations

Incident files (or police occurrence reports) are generated either as a result of complaints received from the public (i.e., crime reported to police), or self-generated by police (e.g., crime discovered by police as a result of enforcement or patrol activity). It is important to keep in mind that reported crime does not always correlate with actual crime. While some crimes are never detected, of those that are, not all are brought to the attention of the police. For various reasons, some crime types are more likely to be reported (or detected) than others. Information on consensual or what some might term ‘victimless’ crime (i.e., drug use, prostitution, gambling) will likely not be reported, and detection by police will require significant investments of time and energy. As well, the volume of certain crimes may increase due to increased police enforcement action, rather than an actual increase in the occurrence of that specific crime type (i.e., indicating instead that simply more crime is being detected).

The summarized crime data included in the Crime Stat Reports represent substantiated offences only (i.e., those incidents which upon preliminary investigation have been deemed to have occurred or been attempted). Incidents of crime that were reported but could not be substantiated when followed up by the police are considered to be ‘unfounded’ and not included in the total number of offences. The data also does not indicate or infer the number of charges laid, prosecutions conducted, informations sworn, or convictions obtained.

Comparing Crime Stats

The summarized crime data contained within the quarterly Crime Stat Reports (i.e., number of offences) may differ from figures provided by Statistics Canada and other agencies that utilize the UCR Survey to collect aggregate data on the incidence of crime. The UCR Survey uses the most serious offence (MSO) per incident rule when compiling police-reported crime data. The MSO rule stipulates that where a single criminal incident contains a number of violations of the law, then only the most serious one is recorded for UCR purposes. As a result, the total number of UCR offences does not represent the total of all crime reported by the police (i.e., the UCR Survey tends to underestimate the true incidence of relatively less serious crimes).

The data presented represents only a portion of the Surrey RCMP records in the PRIME records management system; it also does not include all offences reported to the Canadian Centre of Justice Statistics. Data contained in this report is also based on information accumulated-to-date. The data presented here may vary from previously produced reports and numbers may continue to change on a daily basis due to the dynamic nature of offences being reported, investigated and/or cleared. Further, Statistics Canada redefines criminal offence codes on an ongoing basis, which may result in changes to how crimes are recorded within PRIME.

It is important to note that data collection and reporting can differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Caution should always be taken when comparing crime data extracted at different times or by different agencies using different data sources and/or methodologies.
 

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