New official figures show a drop in the number of homicides in Victoria’s Census Metropolitan Area (CMA).
Greater Victoria recorded two homicides in 2018, a drop of three from the previous year, according to Statistics Canada.
This figure means that the region had 0.51 homicides per 100,000 population, the fourth-lowest figures in Canada for CMAs with populations between 100,000 to less than 500,000 people, a list led by Ontario’s Barrie with zero, St. Catharines–Niagara with 0.42 and followed by St. John’s in Newfoundland and Labrador with a rate of 0.48. Ontario’s Thunder Bay had the highest rate in that category with 6.38 homicides per 100,000.
Looking closer at home, Kelowna (population: 210,961) recorded six homicides for a rate of 0.95, while Abbotsford–Mission (population: 195,726) recorded nine for a rate of 3.07 homicides per 100,000. British Columbia’s largest CMA — Vancouver (population: 2.65 million) — recorded 52 homicides for 1.66 homicides per 100,000. British Columbia recorded 30 fewer homicides in 2018 than in 2017 as most provinces recorded a drop with the exception of Ontario with 69 more victims than in 2017. This figure marked the largest year-over-year increase and the highest number of homicides since data collection started in 1961.
Measured by homicides, Winnipeg (population: 816,741) was Canada’s most violent CMA with 2.69 homicides per 100,000. In terms of absolute numbers, the Toronto CMA (population: 6.27 million) led the way with 142 homicides, up from 93 in 2017. Overall, Canada recorded 651 homicides or 1.76 homicides per 100,000 population, a drop compared to 2017.
Looking at the geography of homicides across Canada, they are relatively high in Toronto, the CMAs of western Canada (not including British Columbia) such as Edmonton, Winnipeg, Regina and Saskatoon and smaller Ontario communities close to the rust-belt region of the United States such as Windsor and Brantford.Notably, both of these communities, as well as Thunder Bay, were once thriving industrial towns.
Looking at the sociology of homicide victims, Indigenous Canadians accounted for 22 per cent of all victims, a rate five times higher compared to non-Indigenous Canadians. Indigenous Canadians also accounted for 30 per cent of all individuals accused of homicide, a rate eight times compared to non-Indigenous Canadians. By way of background, Indigenous Canadians account for just under five per cent of the overall population.
Most victims know their killer. Acquaintances (34 per cent) and family members (33 per cent) account for two-thirds of all victims and spousal homicide was the lone type of homicide to increase in 2018.
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