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Pubdate: Mon, 23 Feb 2004
Source: Toronto Star (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004 The Toronto Star


Of 93,000 Incidents In 2002, More Than Half Are Pot Possession

OTTAWA (CP) - Police forces say the drug-related crime rate was at a 
20-year high in 2002 and most of the incidents involved pot, Statistics 
Canada reports.

Seventy five per cent of drug-related incidents in 2002 involved marijuana, 
and about 72 per cent of those were possession offences, the agency 
reported today.

"The police-reported drug crime rate has risen an estimated 42 per cent 
since the early 1990s and now stands at a 20-year high," the agency said.

"Police reported almost 93,000 incidents related to the Controlled Drugs 
and Substances Act in 2002. Of these, about two-thirds were for possession, 
22 per cent were for trafficking, and the remainder were for offences 
involving importation and production."

Between 1992 and 2002, about one in 10 homicides involved trafficking or 
the settling of drug-related accounts. "Cocaine was involved in 60 per cent 
of these drug-related homicides."

Among provinces in 2002, the rate of drug-related incidents per 100,000 
population was highest in British Columbia, followed by Saskatchewan and 
New Brunswick, the agency said.

"Rates of drug offences in British Columbia have been above the national 
average each year for the past 25 years," it added.

Among metropolitan areas in 2002, the highest rates of police-reported drug 
offences were in Thunder Bay, Ont., Vancouver, and Victoria.

Most of the offences involved young adults aged 18 to 24 in followed by 
youths aged 12 to 17.

"The age group 18 to 24 also recorded the highest rates for cocaine 
trafficking and possession," Statistics Canada said. "Rates for both 
offences declined with age."

The agency also said that from 1992 to 2002:

- -- 684 homicides across the country were drug-related, representing 11 per 
cent of all of all homicides.

- -- Cocaine was involved in 60 per cent of drug-related homicide; cannabis 
was involved in 20 per cent, heroin in five per cent and other unspecified 
drugs 15 per cent.

- -- 26 per cent of all drug-related homicides were also gang-related.

- -- British Columbia and Quebec each accounted for 29 per cent of 
drug-related homicides, the highest proportions, followed by Ontario at 24 
per cent.

- -- About 58 per cent of heroin-related homicide incidents occurred in 
British Columbia as well as 33 per cent of cocaine-related incidents.
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