Week 7 Main Post: Vital Signs

After reading the Toronto Vital Signs report for 2015, I’m struck by some of the statistics.

For example, the safety section in the Toronto Star overview made me reconsider just how safe the city is.

While overall violent crime is declining, reported sexual assaults and stabbings are going up.

It pleases me to hear there weren’t as many violent crimes the previous year. However, I’m troubled there are more reported cases of sexual assaults and stabbings. On one hand, I respect the men and women who have had the courage to come forward either as a bystander or victim. On the other hand, more reports probably means more incidents of assault, sexual or otherwise.

Reported sexual assaults increased in Toronto in 2014, to 66.8 per 100,000 persons, up 12.5% over 2013, and higher than the provincial (55.7) and national (58.5) averages.

I hope to see these numbers decline in the following years. I believe everyone, boy or girl, young or old, should feel safe walking down the streets of their home town.

Incidents of stabbings in Toronto jumped dramatically in 2014. There were 815 stabbings, a 36% increase from the 599 the previous year.

Although youth violence is decreasing, more needs to be done to prevent crime from transpiring in the first place. It’s especially important to address violence to stop young offenders from reoffending later as an adult.

The youth crime rate decreased 44.9% between 2004 and 2013.

In terms of work, I personally think Toronto has room to grow, especially as more people enter the city, looking for opportunities.

Toronto’s job numbers are increasing, but almost 1 in 4 is part-time: The city’s overall employment grew 1.5% in 2014 with 20,850 jobs added.

I can only hope jobs are added in the coming years for graduating students and new immigrants. The statistics reveal that these two groups, in particular, seem to face a harder time securing jobs.

Toronto’s youth face troubling trends: The youth unemployment rate reached a high of 21.65% in 2014. The rate has hovered near 20% for more than a decade.

Unfortunately, immigrants also face a greater risk of unemployment. It’s likely because English is their second or even third language. In some instances, employers may be discriminating, perhaps without realizing it, against people of colour or individuals belonging to minorities.

Unemployment is more likely among Toronto’s recent immigrants than Canadian-born workers: In Toronto, the unemployment rate for those aged 15 and over born in Canada was 9.0% in 2014 (up from 7.9% in 2013).

For the city’s recent immigrants (entered Canada within the last 5 years) unemployment stood at 16.2%. For Toronto immigrants in Canada 5-10 years, unemployment was 12.9% (up from 9.7% in 2012). For recent immigrant youth in the city (15-24 yrs. old), the unemployment rate was 24.1% vs. 21.65% for all youth.

(Information taken from the Toronto Foundation: Toronto’s Vital Signs Report 2015.)

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