Despite an almost one-third drop in homicides for 2017, Saskatchewan continues to have one of the highest homicide rates in Canada.
Statistics Canada reported Wednesday 37 homicides took place in the province during the year, down from 54 the previous year.
The 17 fewer homicides for the year was the largest decline among the provinces.
“The decline in Saskatchewan follows a year of record high homicides that included the incident in La Loche where four people were killed,” StatCan reported.
The decline was also partly the result of a decline in gang-related homicides. Five homicides were gang related in 2017, compared to 13 in 2016.
There was a corresponding drop in the homicide rate to 3.18 per 100,000 people, its lowest level since 2014, but second highest among the provinces next to Manitoba.
Saskatoon saw its homicide rate drop to five from the 10 recorded in 2016, while Regina had eight homicides in 2017, the same number as the previous year.
Saskatchewan’s rural homicide rate remains the highest in Canada, according to StatsCan, at 4.95 per 100,000 people.
“The rate of homicides in rural areas of Saskatchewan was 126 per cent higher than the province’s rate of homicides in urban areas,” StatCan said.
Firearms, including handguns, rifles, and shotguns, accounted for 27 per cent of all homicides in the province during 2017, a drop from 33 per cent in 2016.