CALGARY – The good news: there have been no homicides so far in Calgary this year.
The bad news: Calgary police are still trying to solve 13 murder cases from last year and seven from the year before.
Ryan Delve’s case is among them. The 43-year-old had a passion for art and helped create several murals around the Drop-In Centre, where he was once a client. He was found dead near the Bow River in June 2015.
His friend Linda Hawke is still desperately waiting for answers.
“You can’t help wondering whether it was just a random act of violence by somebody who had soemthing against homeless people or whether someone had something personal against Ryan,” said Hawke.
“Some files take longer to investigate and solve,” said S/Sgt. Colin Chisholm of the Calgary Police Homicide Unit. “That’s our end goal, always, on every homicide case – to come to a situation where we’ve laid a charge and solved the homicide and brought the individuals responsible to justice.”
The growing number of files is taking its toll on an already overworked unit.
“Each investigator has at least two homicides that they are currently working on and even when charges are laid that’s not the end of the work,” said Chisholm. “There’s lots of disclosure that has to be made liaising with the families continuously.”
And while 2016 has been quiet so far, there’s no predicting what the year will bring.
“The number of homicides fluctuate from year to year,” said Chisholm. “In 2011 we only had 11 homicides. The city is a growing city so when you look at historical numbers of homicides you have to take into account that the population of Calgary has rapidly increased over the last 10 years.”
Officer burnout is a real concern, given the ever increasing workload.
“You definitely have to make sure they spend time with their families and that they get a breather from time to time. It’s incredibly important. Burnout is something that is a real possibility in this unit because our investigators are all so dedicated and they live this – 365 days of the year,” said Chisholm.
Police assure all victims’ families, solving all of the cases is a priority.
© 2016 Shaw Media