Neil Boyd recently spoke to undergraduate students as part of the FASS Canada 150 Speaker Series, held to celebrate the anniversary of Confederation.

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Neil Boyd says Canada is "more kind and gentle in the realm of violent crime" at FASS presentation

February 08, 2017
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Professor Neil Boyd recently spoke to undergraduate students as part of the FASS Canada 150 Speaker Series, held to celebrate the anniversary of Confederation.

Each talk in this series features one professor’s point of view on a problem central to national politics, culture and society – each from a different academic perspective or disciplinary tradition of ideas.

Boyd’s talk “Becoming a Kinder, Gentler Canada: A Chequered History of Crime,” contributed to the series from a criminological perspective by asking whether Canada is now a safer nation than it was a generation ago.

Boyd provided a brief overview of predominant types of crimes: notably, crimes against persons and property crime, and discussed reasons for the reported rise – and the reported drop – of these kinds of crimes in Canada. He suggested that while crimes against persons have actually decreased since the 1990s, a reported drop in property crime has to be balanced against increases in credit card identity theft and a wide range of other cybercrimes, most of which are not reported to police.

“We are more kind and gentle in the realm of violent crime,” Boyd noted, pointing to Steven Pinker’s work on the civilizing impacts of cultural change – a gradual erosion of our collective tolerance of violence against women, children, gay men, and animals.”

Boyd concluded that as Canada moves forward it is important to focus on research-informed policy in both law reform and law enforcement.