Police-reported incidents of cybercrime appear to vary dramatically across Canadian municipal police services. This paper explores cybercrime reporting by police services in eight of Canada's largest municipalities, assessing (1) variation over time; (2) variation across jurisdictions; and (3) correlates of reporting volumes.
Data was collected from a combination of national Uniform Crime Report statistics and annual reports by police services. Two repeated one-way ANOVA tests and a Pearson's r correlation matrix were used to assess variation and correlation.
Findings suggest that police-reported cybercrime varies significantly across jurisdictions but not over time. Moreover, negative relationships were observed between police-reported cybercrime incidents per 100,000 residents and calls for service per 100,000, as well as number of sworn officers per 100,000.
The study assessed a small sample of cities (N = 8) providing 32 data points, which inhibited robust multivariate analyses. Data also strictly represents calls to police services, therefore excluding alternative resolutions such as public–private interventions.
Canadian provincial and federal governments should consider engaging in high-level talks to harmonize cybercrime reporting strategies within frontline policing. This will mitigate disparity and provide more accurate representations of cybercrime for future policy development. Additionally, services should revisit internal policies and procedures, as it appears that cybercrime is deprioritized in high call volume situations.
This paper introduces previously unreported data about police-reported cybercrime incidents in Canada. Furthermore, it adds quantitative evidence to support previous qualitative studies on police responses to cybercrime.
Popham, J., McCluskey, M., Ouellet, M. and Gallupe, O. (2020), "Exploring police-reported cybercrime in Canada: variation and correlates", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/PIJPSM-08-2019-0128Download as .RIS
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