Homicide in Canada

Homicide is defined as “a person who commits murder when, directly or indirectly, by any means, he causes the death of a human being” (CC s.222(4)). Most common methods of homicide in Canada consist of shooting, stabbing, beating, strangulation and fire (burns/suffocation) (Stats Can). Statistically, victims of homicide are often men between the ages of 30-39 years and women between the ages of 40-49 years (Stats Can). However, men on average are more likely to die from a homicide then women. There are two different charges for homicide: First degree consists of planning and deliberating and second degree is any murder that is not considered first degree (Stats Can).

     According to Statistics Canada (2012), during 1966 homicide was at its lowest at a rate of 1.3 (for 100,000 population), while in 1975 homicide hit its peak at a rate of 3.0. Currently, the homicide rate in Canada for 2012 is 1.56. Although there was a slight increase in the homicide rates in Canada in the early 1990’s, we have seen a gradual decline in the last 40 years.

There can be many reasons why the homicide rate is decreasing in Canada. Many people speculate that tougher sentences for crimes, mentoring programs for youth and criminals, and support within the community all help to improve their lives.

Homicides in Canada can be reduced by: Bringing more campaigns to high schools and work places to educate people on the dangers of weapons; making depression or anger counselling more affordable and accessible; educating the public on what to do in a life or death situation; helping ex-offenders find a stable living environment and employment (Nancy La Vigne).

We need to remain cautious about interpreting the statistics that indicate a downward trend of homicide rates in Canada. Although numbers appear to be declining in stabbings, in 2011 158 victims were killed by guns and in 2012 172 were killed (Stats Can). Will this recent change in homicide methods affect the homicide rates in Canada over the next decade? Or will our government’s tough-on-crime agenda continue to keep Canada’s homicides rates at an all time low.


Chart (in image above)

Homicides, Canada, 1961-2012

Police recorded 543 homicides in Canada in 2012, 55 fewer than the previous year. The homicide rate in 2012 was 1.56 victims per 100,000 population, down 10% from 2011 and the lowest homicide rate recorded since 1966.



“Crime Rate Continues to Drop Across Canada.” National Post (2011, July 21) Retrieved From:http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/07/21/crime-rate-down-across-canada/

Carswell (2015). Criminal Code s.222 (4)

Michael Jones. “The Downside to Diversity.” The Boston Globe. (2007, August 5).Retrieved From:http://www.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2007/08/05/the_downside_of_diversity/?page=full

Peter Tatian. “Housing- and Visualizing-DC’s booming population.” Metro Trends. (2014, October 7). Retrieved From:http://blog.metrotrends.org/2013/05/ways-reduce-crime/

Statistics Canada. (2013, December 19) Retrieved From:http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/legal01-eng.htm

Statistics Canada. (2013, December 19) Retrieved From: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/legal10a-eng.htm

Statistics Canada. (2013, December 19) Retrieved From:http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/131219/dq131219b-eng.htm

Statistics Canada. (2013, December 19) Retrieved From:http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/131219/dq131219b-eng.htm







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