A new Statistics Canada report indicates Edmonton had the third-highest homicide rate in Canada last year.
The statistics suggested Edmonton’s homicide rate was 3.49 per 100,000 population (49 homicides total in 2017), with only Thunder Bay and Abbotsford-Mission having higher rates among metropolitan areas. Edmonton also had the highest rate among communities with a population of 500,000 or more.
Calgary was ninth on Statistics Canada list and third among communities with populations of half a million or more, with a rate of 2.07 homicides per 100,000 population.
Only metropolitan areas with a population of at least 100,000 are included in the data.
Provincially, the statistics indicated the homicide rate across Alberta remained virtually unchanged from the previous year: 2.75 per 100,000 population in 2017, compared 2.74 in 2016.
There was a notable increase in homicides in rural areas across the province, with six more deaths last year, which brought the rate to 3.43 per 100,000 compared to 2.60 in 2016. Statistics Canada suggested the increase was a result of an increase in gang-related and firearm-related homicides.
The data indicated Alberta had the second-highest increase in gang violence, with 12 more homicides connected to gangs compared to the previous year. Calgary had six more gang-related homicides — which was twice as many as 2016 — while Edmonton had four more victims than the previous year.
Nationally, there were 660 homicides — 48 more than in 2016. The countrywide homicide rate in 2017 was seven per cent higher than the previous year which was the highest rate since 2009.
However, the homicide has decreased substantially in recent decades. The rate of homicides in 2017 was 41 per cent lower than the peak recorded in 1975.