Canada hit its highest murder rate in almost a decade in 2017, driven by a significant increase in gun and gang-related homicides in BC and Quebec.
That’s according to the latest Statistics Canada data, which show that firearm-related homicide rate increased 18 per cent last year from 2016, the highest rate since 1992.
BC and Quebec drove the national increase: BC with 118 homicide victims, up 30 from 2016; And Quebec, which reported 93 victims, up 26. The homicide rate in BC was up 32 per cent, says Statistics Canada, making it the province’s highest rate since 2009, the year a drug gang war plagued the region. The numbers were highest in B.C. in Metro Vancouver, which reported 52 homicide victims in 2017, its highest number since 2009. A rise in firearm-related incidents contributed to the increase. Statistics Canada says 48 per cent of victims in Vancouver were killed by a firearm compared with 44 per cent in 2016, representing an increase of seven victims. Most firearm-related homicide victims (68 per cent) in Vancouver were killed with a handgun. The gang-related homicide rate rose for a third consecutive year in 2017, with 23 more than victims in 2017 than the year previous. The increases are blamed again on B.C., with 15 gang-related victims last year and Alberta, with 12. Together, the two provinces accounted for almost half (47 per cent) of all gang-related homicides in Canada. Across Canada, firearm-related homicide reached its highest level in 25 years, according to the report. In 2017, there were 266 firearm-related homicides reported in Canada, 43 more than in 2016.
Handguns accounted for about six in 10 firearm homicides in 2017. BC had the largest increase (up 22 victims) in the number of firearm-related homicides among the provinces. More than half (53 per cent) of the province’s homicides involved firearms, 68 per cent of which were known or suspected to be gang-related.
The rise in firearm-related homicides in BC is a result of increases in Vancouver (up seven victims), and Abbotsford–Mission (up four victims,) according to Stats Can.