StatCan reports 743 homicides in 2020; highest since 1991

StatCan reports 743 homicides in 2020; highest since 1991
NORTH BAY -- Police in Canada reported more than 740 homicides in 2020 the most in three decades in a year that also saw the country experience its worst mass murder in history.

A total of 743 homicides were reported last year, the highest number since 1991 and an increase of 56 homicides compared to 2019.

The figures, detailed in a new report released Thursday by Statistics Canada, used data pulled from the 2020 Homicide Survey, which collects police-reported information on homicide incidents, victims and accused persons in Canada.

The country s homicide rate edged up seven per cent to 1.95 per 100,000 people, making it the highest national homicide rate in Canada since 2005.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound impacts on Canadian society since March 2020," the StatCan report said. "These marked societal and economic changes have contributed to a shift in crime patterns across Canada."

Homicides remain relatively rare in Canada, StatCan noted, making up less than 0.2 per cent of all violent crime in 2020.

Although the country s homicide rate has steadily increased since 2014, it remains lower than some of the highs recorded in the early 1990s and mid-1970s.

However, last year s increase comes as the country saw an eight per cent decrease to its Crime Severity Index, which measures the volume and severity of police-reported crime in Canada.

While the number of spousal homicides fell by nine in 2020, StatCan reports that 11 more of the homicides reported were committed by family members and seven more by intimate partners.

Of the 474 solved homicides in Canada where a relationship between the accused and victim was reported, 82 per cent were by someone the victim knew personally.

Thirty-eight per cent of these homicides were committed by an acquaintance, 10 per cent by a spouse, 20 per cent by another family member, five per cent by someone the victim either had a current or former non-spousal intimate relationship with, and eight per cent by someone the victim had a criminal relationship with.
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