By Nancy Macdonald - Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - 0 Comments
Four of Surrey’s 10 homicide victims this year have ended up on the same isolated road
The idyllic setting hides the extent of the horror recently visited on Surrey, B.C.’s tiny Colebrook Road. Bulrushes, blackberry bushes and bored-looking horses surround the rural street. Salt flats in the distance lead to the ocean; a local boutique winery boasts an award-winning pinot gris.
But Colebrook’s isolation—the same quality that draws hikers, horse riders and cyclists—has also made it a haunt for murderous criminals. Indeed, almost half of Surrey’s 10 homicide victims this year have ended up on a single, 50-m stretch of the road—all in the last six weeks.
By David Newland - Tuesday, January 1, 2013 at 8:26 AM - 0 Comments
‘Going postal’ is the tip of the iceberg. The larger problem lies beneath the surface
‘Going postal’—committing mass murder in a public place—seems to have become a horrifying symptom of our times. The latest example, the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, has left Americans divided as to how to proceed. Recent data on mass shootings compiled and released by Mother Jones shed some new light on the issues.
The data refer to gun homicides in the U.S., during the past three decades, committed at a single time, away from home, and involving four or more victims. What’s fascinating in these numbers, grim as they are, is that they are often merely the tip of the iceberg: the larger truth lies beneath the surface.
Number of mass shootings in the United States since 1982: 62.
That’s a startling number, to be sure. But what’s truly startling is that despite their dramatic nature, mass shootings together account for “only” 1,007 deaths over 30 years. To put that in perspective, more than 11,000 Americans were killed by guns in 2009. In Chicago alone in 2012, 500 people have been killed in homicides. In the week after Sandy Hook, 100 Americans were killed by guns.
U.S. mass shootings since 1982 in which the shooter, or shooters were men: 61.
Is anyone surprised that the majority of mass shooters were male? Probably not. But that only one of the killers was female must surely be cause for serious consideration. Gun ownership among women in the U.S. as of 2005 was roughly 13 per cent; for men it was 47 per cent. Perhaps more important though, is how likely women are to be victims of gun crime. Harvard Injury Control Research Centre puts it this way: more guns = more female violent deaths.
U.S. mass shootings since 1982 involving semiautomatic or assault weapons: 58.
All but four of 62 shootings included one or more semiautomatic handguns, or one or more assault weapons, or both. There’s a widespread belief that the Second Ammendment to the U.S. Constitution, commonly known as ‘the right to bear arms’, gives carte blanche to gun owners.
Perhaps not: the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008 affirmed “The Second Amendment right is not a right to keep and carry any weapon in any manner and for any purpose.” Hence, a ban on semiautomatic and assault weapons might not be in violation of the Second Ammendment.
U.S. mass shootings since 1982 in which shooters used weapons obtained legally: 49.
This figure does not include the two semi-automatics Adam Lanza used in the Sandy Hook shootings. They’re considered to have been illegally obtained because Lanza apparently stole them from his mother—who obtained them legally, and taught him to use them. (An important fact not dealt with in the popular ‘I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother’ post by Liza Long.) In five of the 11 cases of illegally obtained guns in the Mother Jones data set, the weapons were stolen from family members.
Incidentally, in 2004, the makers of a Bushmaster assault rifle similar to the one Adam Lanza stole were sued for allowing their product to fall into the wrong hands after it was used in the Washington, D.C. shooting spree. Since then, the NRA lobbied for, and got Congress to pass a law that protects gun manufacturers from lawsuits seeking to hold them liable for gun crimes.
U.S. mass shootings since 1982 that ended as murder-suicides: 36.
This number may be even higher, because in seven instances, the shooters were ultimately killed by law enforcement officers in scenarios viewable as suicide by cop. For obvious reasons, a lot of attention is being paid to firearm homicides. But did you know firearm suicides are more common?
U.S. mass shootings since 1982 in which shooters had shown signs of mental illness: 40.
This should be the place where gun advocates, and gun control advocates can find common ground. Responsible gun dealers must want to eliminate those who are mentally ill and at risk for violence from their pool of potential customers. But that’s not always possible right now. A mere 12 states account for the vast majority of queries to the FBI database set up for the purpose. Nineteen states have submitted fewer than 100 records each to the FBI database.
One challenge in focusing on mental illness will be not stigmatizing mentally ill people. It’s been duly noted that most mentally ill people don’t commit violent crimes. But it’s also true, as one pundit put it, that “anyone who goes into a school with a semiautomatic and kills 20 children and six adults is, by definition, mentally ill”.
U.S. mass shootings that have occurred since 2006: 25.
Gun ownership is up, way up, in the U.S. since 1982, having outpaced population growth during the period reported by the survey. There are now nearly as many guns in the U.S. as people, which means there’s more than one for every adult American. At least 118 million of those are handguns, according to Mother Jones. And recent mass shootings have caused spikes in gun sales. As gun sales have gone up, so have mass shootings. Coincidence?
U.S. mass shootings since 1982 prevented or ended by armed bystanders: 0.
The NRA’s notion, that schools should be armed to prevent massacres like the one at Sandy Hook, is not borne out by the record. Mother Jones found that an armed bystander played a role in only one of the 62 mass shootings examined—by shooting the perpetrator after he had already fled the scene.
Politically, the issue of mass shootings is a highly visible, volatile one, for obvious reasons. No one wants another Sandy Hook, any more than anyone wanted another Aurora, another Virginia Tech, another Columbine. People keep “going postal,” and the horrifying results are plain to see.
But “going postal,” however common it appears, however visible its impact, remains relatively rare—mass shootings account for a tiny fraction of the deaths associated with guns in the United States today.
Put bluntly, mass shootings are not the problem. They are a symptom of the problem. The problem is as simple as the numbers; the solution is as complicated as the politics that surround it.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at 9:35 AM - 0 Comments
The murder rate increased slightly, but the overall crime rate and the violent crime rate declined in 2011.
Police reported over 424,400 incidents of violent crime in 2011, about 14,800 fewer than in 2010. As in previous years, violent crimes accounted for about 1 in 5 offences reported by police. Both the rate and severity of violent crime fell 4% in 2011. It was the fifth consecutive annual decline in the severity of violent crime.
Despite the overall drop in violent crime, Canada’s homicide rate rose 7% in 2011 to 1.7 homicides per 100,000 population. Police reported 598 homicides in 2011, 44 more than in 2010. Despite annual fluctuations, the homicide rate has generally been declining since peaking in the mid-1970s. The national increase in homicides in 2011 was driven by increases in Alberta and Quebec. Manitoba had the highest homicide rate among the provinces for the fifth consecutive year.
The rate of robbery declined 3% in 2011, continuing a downward trend. Police reported over 29,700 robberies, 700 fewer than in 2010. Rates declined for attempted murder (-3%) and for most types of assault, including sexual assault (-3%).
By Blog of Lists - Wednesday, July 18, 2012 at 4:39 PM - 0 Comments
Murders per 100,000 population:
1. Honduras 82.1
2. El Salvador 66
3. Ivory Coast 56.9
4. Jamaica 52.1
5. Venezuela 49
6. Belize 41.7
7. Guatemala 41.4
8. St. Kitts and Nevis 38.2
9. Zambia 38
10. Uganda 36.3
103. United States of America 5
150. Canada 1.8
Note: Top 10 excludes dependencies and territories
Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
(2010 data or latest year available, released in 2011)
Have you ever wondered which cities have the most bars, smokers, absentee workers and people searching for love? What about how Canada compares to the world in terms of the size of its military, the size of our houses and the number of cars we own? The nswers to all those questions, and many more, can be found in the first ever Maclean’s Book of Lists.
Buy your copy of the Maclean’s Book of Lists at the newsstand or order online now.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, June 29, 2012 at 8:38 AM - 0 Comments
Stephen Harper, June 2008. It’s one thing that they, the criminals do not get it, but if you don’t mind me saying, another part of the problem for the past generation has been those, also a small part of our society, who are not criminals themselves, but who are always making excuses for them, and when they aren’t making excuses, they are denying that crime is even a problem: the ivory tower experts, the tut-tutting commentators, the out-of-touch politicians. “Your personal experiences and impressions are wrong,” they say. “Crime is not really a problem.” I don’t know how you say that.
Rob Nicholson, July 2008. “We don’t govern by statistics in our government.”
Rob Nicholson, July 2009. “We don’t govern on the latest statistics.”
Rob Nicholson, September 2011. “We’re not governing on the basis of the latest statistics.”
Vic Toews’ spokeswoman, yesterday. But a spokeswoman for Federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews disputed their claims, saying since the Conservatives took office, firearms-related homicides have decreased by 28%. “These statistics show that our government’s tough-on-crime approach is working,” Julie Carmichael said in an email.
The national homicide rate peaked in 1975 at 3.03 homicides per 100,000 people. It has gradually declined since then, first falling under 2.0 in 1997.
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 3:51 PM - 0 Comments
An individual suspected to be involved with the discovery of body parts in Ottawa and Montreal has been identified. Video of the killing may exist and the second package, the one that contained a human hand, is now said to have been bound for the Liberal party headquarters.
Before Question Period this afternoon, the NDP MP Randall Garrison delivered a statement offering the NDP’s thoughts for the Conservative staff impacted by yesterday’s discovery.
Mr. Speaker, Canadians were horrified to hear of the senseless and cowardly mailing of human remains to Conservative Party headquarters and the interception of a second package at Canada Post’s Ottawa sorting centre. Our sympathies go out to the staff at the Conservative offices who opened the package. Our thoughts are also with Canada Post employees who had to deal with the second package containing human remains. They were all victims of an outrageous and reprehensible act. We encourage anyone with information on this crime to contact police immediately. On behalf of New Democrats, and I think all members of this House across all party lines, we stand in solidarity with postal workers and especially the Conservative Party staff. We condemn these acts and stand united together against these crimes.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 5:55 AM - 0 Comments
Seven murders gave the city top spot in 2010, well above the national rate
Seven murders gave the city top spot in 2010, well above the national rate. Prince George, B.C., consistently has a high homicide rate: in 2009, its rate was 121 per cent above the national rate, exactly where it was in 2000.
Worst cities (% higher than national average)
1. Prince George, B.C. (486%)
2. Wood Buffalo, Alta (202%)
3. Saskatoon (168%)
4. Thunder Bay, Ont. (163%)
5. Regina (148%)
Best cities* (% lower than national average)
1. Joliette, Que. (100%)
2. Sarnia, Ont. (100%)
3. Windsor, Ont. (100%)
4. Red Deer, Alta. (100%)
5. Richmond, B.C. (100%)
*38 cities reported zero murders in 2010
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, October 26, 2011 at 12:09 PM - 5 Comments
The murder rate fell again in 2010
In 2010, police reported 554 homicides in Canada, 56 fewer than the year before. This decline follows a decade of relative stability. The homicide rate fell to 1.62 for every 100,000 population, its lowest level since 1966.
Firearms-related and gang-related homicides declined. The number of homicides by intimate partners (including spouses) was stable.
By Colby Cosh - Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 12:27 PM - 3 Comments
It’s been a banner year for homicides, especially in the northern fringe of downtown
The 2011 homicide counter started clicking early in Edmonton, and it has not stopped. Just three hours past midnight on New Year’s, police were called to an Ethiopian restaurant on Edmonton’s 107th Avenue—the “Avenue of Nations,” where East African immigrants are following the earlier footsteps of the Vietnamese boat people. On reaching the scene, investigators found 23-year-old Somali man Mohamud Mohamed Jama dead from a gunshot to the head.
A wounded witness refused to co-operate, and other patrons clammed up too. Fellow Somalis declared the victim a “typical Canadian young man” who “wasn’t involved with gangs or drugs.” But Jama died nine days shy of his sentencing for a 2007 aggravated assault; he had pleaded guilty of stabbing another Somali man eight times.
Jama’s unsolved murder struck a wearisome chord for Edmontonians, from the north-central crime scene to the frustrations of the cops trying to pry loose information from clannish Somali-Canadians reluctant to trust police. Yet the bloody big picture of Edmonton in 2011 defies neat categories or models. For reasons that remain obscure, a working-class city has exploded this year into unrelenting, record-breaking levels of violence.
By Richard Foot - Monday, February 21, 2011 at 11:06 AM - 1 Comment
A man accused of killing his brother sparks the first murder investigation on the Island in five years
Donna Dingwell faced a mother’s unthinkable nightmare last month. As she made funeral arrangements following the murder on Jan. 17 of her eldest son Kyle, 25, she was also looking for a lawyer for his accused killer—her 22-year-old son Dylan. “Everyone really felt for this mother,” says Charlottetown’s deputy police chief Gary McGuigan. “She buried one son on Saturday and would be in court on Monday with the other, who was charged with second-degree murder.”
Kyle Dingwell’s murder not only shocked his family, it caused a profound stir across Prince Edward Island, where homicides are almost unheard of. For five of the past six years, Canada’s smallest province has had the country’s lowest homicide rate—zero—according to Statistics Canada. Police on P.E.I. have not undertaken a murder investigation since 2006, when a dairy plant worker deliberately ran down a former colleague with his car.
Murder cases everywhere make headlines, but news of the Dingwell killing spread fear and anger across P.E.I., and sparked a rash of unseemly Internet gossip, before any details of the murder became known. Comments on a Charlottetown newspaper website suggested the crime might be linked to the drug trade, or caused by “immigrants.”
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 at 9:06 AM - 25 Comments
Chris Selley runs the numbers on homicide.
Statistics Canada data show that in 2009, just 18.1% of “solved” homicides — meaning those in which a suspect was identified — were committed by someone unknown to the victim. That’s 82 murders, total. (If the same rate held true among unsolved homicides as well, the total number would be 110.) … There were 515 homicides in Canada in 2007. More likely ways to die included not just the traditional heart disease (50,499 deaths), suicide (3,611) and motor vehicle accidents (2,882) but such un-newsworthy occurrences as pneumonia (5,272), renal failure (3,664) falling down (2,677), poisoning (1,347) and skin cancer (875).
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, October 27, 2010 at 10:38 AM - 0 Comments
Statistics Canada releases new figures on homicide.
The latest homicide study released Tuesday by Statistics Canada shows there were 179 firearm-related killings in 2009, 21 fewer than the previous year. Most of them involved handguns which are tightly controlled in Canada … Stabbings (36 per cent) and shootings (30 per cent) were the most common forms of homicide in 2009 and, as in previous years, a “large majority” of victims knew their assailants. That said, the number of people killed by a stranger last year jumped 17 per cent …
Of the 253 firearms used to kill between 2005 and 2009, 69 per cent were found not to be registered, while 31 per cent were — the bulk of them rifles or shotguns, which fall under the controversial long-gun registry.
By Michael Friscolanti - Sunday, October 17, 2010 at 8:20 AM - 0 Comments
Russell Williams’s victims hope photo evidence will remain sealed
The actual sentence is not up for debate. First-degree murder carries a mandatory punishment of life behind bars with no chance of parole for 25 years, and when Russell Williams officially pleads guilty next week, his fate will be no different. The disgraced colonel will be transferred to a federal penitentiary, locked in isolation for his own safety, and left to wonder—until his 72nd birthday—whether it’s even worth applying to the National Parole Board.
If he’s as smart as everyone says, Williams already knows the answer: he will remain in prison until the day he dies.
But not before spending a few more hours inside a Belleville, Ont., courtroom, explaining to a judge—and his many, many victims—how he managed to conceal an elaborate double life as a serial stalker while busy commanding the country’s largest air force base, CFB Trenton. As part of his historic guilty plea, Williams must submit an “agreed statement of facts” that should finally shed some light on what sparked his unthinkable crime spree of two homicides, two home-invasion sexual assaults, and dozens of bizarre break-ins that targeted women’s underwear.
By Cathy Gulli with Patricia Treble - Thursday, October 14, 2010 at 3:30 PM - 0 Comments
Maclean’s third annual crime surveys shows an epidemic of violence in the North. Forget Arctic sovereignty. This is the problem that needs attention.
Talk to people living in the North about why the violent crime rate is so high compared to the rest of Canada and you’ll hear about the “complex” or “unique” problems “up here.” But it’s not until you listen to Peter J. Harte, a lawyer in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, tell the unimaginable story of a young woman he knows that you can begin to understand what that means.
At 13, the girl was sexually abused by her brother. This only came to the attention of police when they questioned her about why she was trying to put her little sister into hiding. Her brother wound up in jail, and the teen was placed with a foster family in another community.
By macleans.ca - Thursday, October 14, 2010 at 3:30 PM - 50 Comments
Abbotsford, B.C., with almost three times the national rate, tops the list
Canada’s national rate is 1.8 murders per 100,000 population. Abbotsford, B.C., with almost three times that rate, tops the list of the 100 most populous cities.
RANK CITIES PERCENTAGE DIFFERENCE WITH THE NATIONAL RATE 1 Abbotsford, B.C. 270.59% 2 Thunder Bay, Ont. 182.08 3 Medicine Hat, Alta. 159.96 4 Surrey, B.C. 154.43 5 Winnipeg, Man. 143.37 6 Brome-Missisquoi, Que. 132.31 7 Prince George, B.C. 121.24 8 Salaberry-De-Valleyfield, Que. 121.24 9 Grande Prairie, Alta. 110.18 10 Saguenay, Que. 88.06 11 Edmonton, Alta. 77.00 12 Kingston, Ont. 77.00 13 Sherwood Park, Alta. 77.00 14 Burnaby, B.C. 71.46 15 Halifax Region, N.S. 65.93 16 Langley Township, B.C. 60.40 17 Victoria, B.C. 60.40 18 Vancouver, B.C. 54.87 19 Sarnia, Ont. 49.34 20 Saskatoon, Sask. 49.34 21 Richmond, B.C. 43.81 22 Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. 43.81 23 Kelowna, B.C. 38.27 24 Sudbury, Ont. 32.75 25 Toronto, Ont. 32.75 26 Trois-Rivières, Que. 27.22 27 Red Deer, Alta. 21.68 28 St-Eustache, Que. 21.68 29 Windsor, Ont. 21.68 30 Brantford, Ont. 16.15 31 Calgary, Alta. 16.15 32 Regina, Sask. 16.15 33 Belleville, Ont. 10.62 34 West Vancouver, B.C. 10.62 35 Moncton, N.B. 5.09 36 Fredericton, N.B. -0.44 37 Laval, Que. -0.44 38 Fort McMurray, Alta. -5.97 39 Peel Region (Mississauga/Brampton), Ont. -5.97 40 Coquitlam, B.C. -11.50 41 Joliette, Que. -11.50 42 Montréal, Que. -11.50 43 Hamilton, Ont. -17.03 44 Châteauguay, Que. -22.53 45 Chilliwack, B.C. -28.10 46 Maple Ridge, B.C. -28.10 47 Kamloops, B.C. -33.63 48 Peterborough, Ont. -33.63 49 Lethbridge, Alta. -39.16 50 N. Vancouver District, B.C. -39.16 51 Ottawa, Ont. -39.16 52 St. Catharines, Ont. -39.16 53 Cape Breton, N.S. -44.69 54 Drummondville, Que. -44.69 55 Durham Region (Oshawa/Whitby/Ajax), Ont. -44.69 56 Delta, B.C. -50.22 57 Gatineau, Que. -55.75 58 Guelph, Ont. -55.75 59 Kitchener, Ont. -55.75 60 London, Ont. -55.75 61 Longueuil, Que. -55.75 62 Terrebonne, Que. -55.75 63 Vaudreuil-Soulange, Que. -55.75 64 Barrie, Ont. -61.28 65 Sherbrooke, Que. -61.28 66 Québec, Que. -77.88 67 Oakville, Ont. -88.94 68 York Region (Markham/Vaughn), Ont. -88.94 69 Alma, Que. -100.00 70 Blainville, Que. -100.00 71 Caledon, Ont. -100.00 72 Chatham-Kent, Ont. -100.00 73 Cornwall, Ont. -100.00 74 Granby, Que. -100.00 75 Innisfil, Ont. -100.00 76 Lévis, Que. -100.00 77 Maskoutains, Que. -100.00 78 Mirabel, Que. -100.00 79 Nanaimo, B.C. -100.00 80 New Westminster, B.C. -100.00 81 Norfolk, Ont. (Opp) -100.00 82 North Bay, Ont. -100.00 83 North Vancouver, B.C. -100.00 84 Nottawasaga, Ont. -100.00 85 Port Coquitlam, B.C. -100.00 86 Repentigny, Que. -100.00 87 Richelieu Saint-Laurent, Que. -100.00 88 Rimouski, Que. -100.00 89 Roussillon, Que. -100.00 90 Saanich, B.C. -100.00 91 Saint John, N.B. -100.00 92 Saint-Jérôme, Que. -100.00 93 Shawinigan, Que. -100.00 94 Sorel-Tracy, Que. -100.00 95 St. Albert, Alta. -100.00 96 St. John’s, Nfld. -100.00 97 St.Jean-Sur-Richelieu, Que. -100.00 98 Thérèse-De-Blainville, Qc. -100.00 99 Victoriaville, Que. -100.00 100 Wellington County, Ont. -100.00
By Colby Cosh - Tuesday, May 18, 2010 at 6:01 PM - 17 Comments
Behold the compound stupidity that emerges from ill-made privacy law. There was a terrible murder near the entrance of Edmonton’s Hotel Macdonald early Monday; the Edmonton Journal conducted a careful, sensitive investigation into the background of the victim, who had committed a murder himself in 2001. Because the Journal disclosed that the dead man had once been in foster care and that he had been a young offender, the broadsheet couldn’t report his name for fear of inviting reprisals from multiple levels of government. Meanwhile, every other news organ in town was left free to identify him precisely because they didn’t have, or didn’t tell, the full story. The law, in its infinite wisdom, endowed this lucky brute with privacy rights that did not expire with this death. But for whatever it might be worth, those rights did absolutely nothing to shield his identity from anybody.
It would be lovely if governments decided that concealing information about suspicious deaths, or indeed any deaths at all, is horrible public policy. Privacy provisions in Alberta’s child-welfare laws are particularly awful in this respect; they have repeatedly impeded newsgathering on the quality of foster care in this province—an exercise of the free press that could not possibly be more urgent. I would add that various police forces are rapidly embracing the repugnant habit of concealing the identities of corpses discovered in public places “at the request of their families”. This does not appear to be a matter of law at all; it is just improvised self-regulation. The reporter, presented with a blank wall of sentiment, never has any ready means of confirming that a family has made such a request, or, indeed, been consulted or located at all. If we are prepared to accept this obfuscation as a matter of routine, we might just as well give the cops an explicit license to cover up homicide, or, indeed, to commit it.
[UPDATE, 6:46 pm: the Edmonton Sun has withdrawn the name of the victim from its story, which is linked to above. Here's how it reads now; here's a screenshot from 6 am Eastern time today, courtesy of the Google cache. Note here that general knowledge of the name of the victim might actually, I dunno, help the police solve the crime.]
By Philippe Gohier - Thursday, March 5, 2009 at 10:17 AM - 1 Comment
Murder rate in this bedroom community is 365 per cent above the national average
The problem: Port Coquitlam, B.C., a bedroom community less than an hour outside Vancouver that’s home to about 60,000 people, has the highest murder rate in Canada. At 365 per cent over the national average, Port Coquitlam’s homicide rate is far above Edmonton’s, which comes in second at 133 per cent above the national average. It’s worth noting, too, that Port Coquitlam’s five murders in 2007 don’t include those committed by Robert Pickton, Port Coquitlam’s most notorious pig farmer and one of Canada’s most infamous serial killers.
What’s being done to deal with it: According to data compiled by Statistics Canada, Port Coquitlam’s 929 residents per police officer represented the second-highest ratio in British Columbia for a city of its size in 2007. (At 967 residents per police officer, the North Vancouver District edged it out of the top spot.) By 2008, that ratio had grown to 1,067 residents to police officers, though it still trailed North Vancouver’s 1,082. “This isn’t something that we should grow to live with or be comfortable with,” Port Coquitlam Councillor Brad West told Coquitlam Now. “It’s unacceptable to me, and I think it’s going to be unacceptable to our residents.” A spike in gang violence in the Vancouver area has already prompted nearby Coquitlam to commit an extra $700,000 in its budget to hire six more Mounties and Port Coquitlam is expected to follow suit and hire three more mounties later this year.