Greater Montreal's VitalSigns 2007
Foundation of Greater Montreal's Website

Crimes against property are declining and Montreal is among the safest metropolitan regions in the country. And while there has been some improvement with regard to the number of traffic accidents, reckless behaviour by pedestrians, cyclists and drivers on the region’s highways and streets remains a source of concern.

  • The region’s rate of 3,710 crimes against property per 100,000 residents in 2005 was 18% higher than the Quebec average but close to the Canadian average. The rate declined to 3,642 in 2006, its lowest level in 15 years, ranking Montreal among the safest large urban regions, behind Toronto (2,471) and Ottawa (3,122). 1
  • In 2005, 97,299 crimes against property (thefts, burglaries, motor vehicle thefts, fraud, arson, vandalism and possession of stolen goods) were reported on the island – a rate of 5,197 per 100,000 residents. This was the lowest ratio in 25 years, reflecting a downward trend that began in the early 1990s (44% decline over the period) and was also observed throughout Quebec (42%) and, to a lesser extent, across Canada (35%). 2, 3
  • Thefts accounted for nearly one third of all infractions and nearly half of all crimes against property recorded on the island in 2005. There has been a downward trend in the last 15 years: the 44,273 cases reported in 2005 represented a 5.8% decline from 2000 and a 40.2% drop from 1991. Only car thefts and the theft of car contents, which account for nearly half (45.7%) of all cases, have increased. 3
  • With 19,534 cases reported in 2005, the island of Montreal recorded its eighth consecutive year of reductions in the number of burglaries, a drop of 55% since 1991, greater than the 44% decline recorded across Canada. Two out of three burglaries took place in private residences, and while this category has fallen by 52% since 1991, there has been a new increase in recent years, from 12,620 in 2004 to 13,022 in 2005. 3
  • Since 1997, the number of motor vehicle thefts across the island has declined four times more rapidly than elsewhere in Quebec. While half of all car thefts reported in Quebec in the late 1980s were committed in Montreal, by 2004 that proportion had fallen to 35%. In 2005, however, the number increased for the first time in eight years, from 13,713 to 14,139. This compares with 21,621 in 1997. 3
  • The number of frauds reported on the island grew significantly (29.1%) between 1995 and 2002, then fell in 2003 (17.3%) and 2005 (8.2%). In particular, frauds associated with automatic teller cards have dropped 60% since 2000. The number of infractions reported in 2005 (5,530) was in the same range as in 1995. 3
  • The number of acts of vandalism has fallen by half (52%) on the island since 1991. A similar downward trend, albeit less pronounced, has also been noted across Quebec (41%) and across Canada (33%). With 12,524 cases reported in 2005, acts of vandalism account for nearly 10% of all Criminal Code infractions in Montreal. 3

  • At the of 2005, of 669 suspects in cases of sexual exploitation of children for commercial purposes, 86% were adult men, 48% of whom were less than 25 years old and 8% less than 18 years old. No fewer than 20% were known street gang members. 3
  • Between 1998 and 2002, there were about 2,000 fires per year on the island, causing an average of 20 fatalities each year. While the ratio of hospitalized victims (1.0 per 100,000) was the same as the ratio for Quebec as a whole, the fatality rate was higher (7.6 vs. 5.1 per 100,000). 4
  • Montreal pedestrians are less cautious than their Toronto counterparts when it comes to waiting on the sidewalk before crossing the street (53% vs. 90%), using marked crosswalks (65% vs. 86%) and observing traffic lights (76% vs. 91%). In interactive situations, on the other hand, pedestrians are more likely to give priority to vehicles in Montreal (72.5%) than in Toronto (51%). As a result, accident-preventing behaviour is more prevalent among pedestrians in Montreal (63%) and among motorists in Toronto (71%). 5

Distribution of injuries, hospitalizations and fatalities due to traffic accidents,Island of Montreal, 2000-06

Source: Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec 6

  • Among the victims of traffic accidents on the island between 2000 and 2006, the occupants of motor vehicles made up 79.4% of those who suffered only light injuries and 47.9% of those who died of fatal injuries. Cyclists and pedestrians, on the other hand, accounted 52.1% of fatalities and 20.6% of victims with only minor injuries. 6
  • Between 2000 and 2006, traffic accidents caused, on average, one fatality, 16 serious injuries requiring hospitalization and 216 minor injuries every week on the island of Montreal. 6

  • On Quebec highways, nearly all Criminal Code infractions (95%) are associated with impaired driving. Between 1996 and 2005, Laval residents often had a higher alcohol-related infraction rate. However, during the same period, the rate fell by more than two thirds in each of the three urban regions. 7
  • In 2005, there were 1,294 alcohol-related offences in the municipalities of Montreal, Longueuil and Laval, whereas the number of speeding violations was 129,992 – one hundred times higher. 7

1 Uniform Crime Reporting Survey, Cansim table 252-0013, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Statistics Canada
(consulted on August 21, 2007)
2 Données démographiques régionales, Institut de la Statistique du Québec
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
3 La sécurité et la qualité de vie à Montréal. Constats et tendances. Lecture de l’environnement externe 2006, Service de police de la ville de Montréal, March 2006
4 Banque de données des statistiques officielles sur le Québec, Institut de la statistique du Québec
Portrait de santé du Québec et de ses régions 2006: les statistiques, Deuxième rapport national sur l’état de santé de la population du Québec, Gouvernement du Québec, 2006
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
5 Jean-Pierre Thouez and Jacques Bergeron, Analyse comparative des comportements des piétons et des conducteurs à l'égard des piétons dans six villes du Québec et de l'Ontario, Étude menée pour la Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec, Université de Montréal, April 2003
“Les piétons moins prudents au Québec qu’en Ontario,”Forum, Vol. 37, No. 21, February 17, 2003

(consulted on July 31, 2007)
6 Bilan 2005: accidents, parc automobile, permis de conduire, Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec, May 2006
(consulted on April 30, 2007)
Bilan 2006: accidents, parc automobile, permis de conduire, Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec, June 2007
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
7 François Tardif, Dossier statistique. Les infractions et les sanctions reliées à la conduite d’un véhicule routier, 1996-2005, Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec, December 2006
(consulted on July 31, 2007)
8 Portrait de santé du Québec et de ses régions 2006: les statistiques, Deuxième rapport national sur l’état de santé de la population du Québec, Gouvernement du Québec, 2006
(consulted on July 31, 2007)