Manitoba has maintained its unwelcome distinction as the homicide capital of Canada.
In figures released Wednesday by Statistics Canada, Manitoba leads all other provinces in homicide rates with 45 killings in 2010, a rate of 3.6 per 100,000. The next highest was Saskatchewan at 3.3, but most were much lower. The national average is 1.6 homicides per 100,000 population.
Stats Can’s report notes, “Homicide rates have been generally higher in the western provinces and northern territories than in the eastern part of the country for many decades.“
The homicide rate actually dropped in Manitoba and across Canada, with the national average reaching its lowest point since 1966. Manitoba’s rate dropped as well: there were 57 homicides in 2009 for a chart-topping rate of 4.7 per 100,000. But even with the decrease in 2010, Manitoba still leads the country in killings.
Among cities, Winnipeg is also high on the homicide rate list, but not number one. Thunder Bay, ON saw the highest homicide rate for the second year in a row with five killings for a rate of 4.2 per 100,000 population in 2010. Winnipeg was fourth behind Regina and Saskatoon with 22 homicides in 2010, a rate of 2.8 per 100,000. But that appears to be a short-term blip: in Winnipeg saw 32 homicides in 2009 and the city has already recorded 32 homicides so far in 2011.
And the decade-long average shows a disturbing trend: from 2000 to 2009, Winnipeg had an average 25 homicides per year, a rate of 3.5 pre 100,000 – the second highest in the country behind Regina.
Stats Can also notes that firearms are involved in fewer homicides nation wide than in years past, with a significant decrease in incidents of rifles and shotguns being used in killings. The vast majority of gun-related homicides involved handguns. Overall, the agency says, “Stabbings (31%) were nearly as common in 2010 as shootings (32%). Another 22% of homicides involved beatings and 8% were by strangulation or suffocation. The remaining homicides used other means such as motor vehicles, fire and poisoning.“