By Colby Cosh - Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 0 Comments
Police today are solving fewer homicides than they did in the 1960s
If one were to choose a single core responsibility of the state, it would probably be the prevention of violence. Protecting people from homicide could not be more intimately related to the origins of, and the justification for, government. So how come we don’t talk much about how poorly or well we are doing at it? In the early 1960s, according to the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, it was typical for Canadian police to solve 90 to 95 per cent of all murders. The figures for recent years, after a long and steady decline, are generally below 80 per cent; in one year, 2008, the clearance rate dipped to slightly below 70 per cent.
Numbers released in June by the CCJS show that Canadian investigators enjoyed a good performance in 2010 by recent standards, clearing 75.3 per cent of homicides. A homicide is normally “cleared” by laying a charge against a perpetrator, or by the mere identification of one for cases in which no arrest is possible (murder-suicides or self-defence killings, for example). An odd feature of the decline in homicide clearances is that it does not appear to bear any relationship to overall homicide rates, which peaked in the mid-1970s and have been dropping ever since. Police are simply solving slightly fewer of the homicides they are presented with every year, irrespective of how violent the social environment is. Continue…
By Ken MacQueen and Patricia Treble - Thursday, December 15, 2011 at 5:58 AM - 0 Comments
Gang wars, drug abuse and a serial killer guaranteed Prince George, B.C., the top spot
Most days, after Doug Leslie is back from work at the molybdenum mine in tiny Fraser Lake, B.C., he sits at his computer and writes a chatty little note to his 15-year-old daughter Loren. It’s a catch-up on the day, and maybe a bleat about those times he pulls the night shift, or about the cold of a northern B.C. winter, or about how quickly days ﬂy by now that he shoulders the destiny Loren has inspired. “Loren, can you do anything about this weather?” he asked her recently. “It’s snowing and I hate winter, it’s cold and damp, and you are not here to warm up the room.” Invariably, he tells Loren how much he misses her, before signing off, “Love Dad.”
The notes grew increasingly plaintive as Nov. 27 approached. The pills weren’t helping him sleep, and the gulf separating father from daughter seemed impossibly wide, although he’d like to believe she reads every one of his messages. “That has been my sanity,” he says of his missives to a daughter who will forever be 15. Nov. 27 was the first anniversary of her murder.
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 Ken MacQueen - Monday, October 24, 2011 at 3:17 PM - 14 Comments
To his friends in northern B.C., Cody Legebokoff was a popular and well-adjusted kid
As an anonymous friend of suspected serial killer Cody Alan Legebokoff put it after the life of the country boy with the baby face and the bruiser’s body began to unravel, “Cody has always been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and this could have been one of those moments.” The post, on the website of Prince George, B.C. TV station CKPG, arrived after Legebokoff, then 20, was charged last November with the first-degree murder of 15-year-old free spirit Loren Donn Leslie of the northern B.C. resource community of Fraser Lake, B.C. The post expressed outrage and disbelief at the arrest of Legebokoff, “my two-stepping partner nights we would go out dancing.” Shock gave way to horror in the Prince George region when the RCMP announced Oct. 17 three more murder charges against Legebokoff in the deaths of Jill Stacy Stuchenko, Cynthia Frances Maas, both 35, and 23-year-old Natasha Lynn Montgomery.
RCMP Insp. Brendan Fitzpatrick, head of the province’s major crime unit, refused to use the term serial killer in an interview with Maclean’s, saying that is for the courts and experts to determine. Still, he conceded B.C. attracts more than its share of multiple murders. They include the ugly legacy of child-killer Clifford Olson, who died last month, William Pickton, convicted of the murders of six vulnerable women and suspected in the killing of dozens more, and the 18 unsolved murders on the so-called Highway of Tears, the same Prince George corridor where these four women died. Fitzpatrick said forensic evidence and Legebokoff’s young age at the time of the 18 disappearances preclude any link. Continue…
By Rachel Mendleson - Monday, December 7, 2009 at 11:36 AM - 244 Comments
The firefighter’s job is changing as ever more medical calls come in
“Maisie,” an elderly Toronto woman whose chain smoking often leaves her gasping for air, is so well-known to the firefighters at the nearby station that when her address is announced on the loudspeaker, they all bellow her name. They lumber up the dark stairwell to her squalid apartment as often as three or four times a night. On this particular occasion, they listen to her breathing and give her oxygen. After the paramedics arrive, her colour improves. She signs a waiver, refusing to allow EMS to take her to hospital. On his way out, the fire hall captain empties an ashtray, and places a few dirty dishes in the sink.
While firefighters may be known more for their courage than caregiving, the reality, says Susan Braedley, a post-doctoral fellow at York University’s Institute for Health Research, is “they’re doing more emergency medical care than anything else.” In 2006, 52 per cent of calls to the Toronto Fire Service were medical in nature—a statistic that prompted Braedley to spend 10 months observing the city’s firefighters. Her research, which includes the visit to Maisie’s home, is slated for publication by the McGill Queens University Press next spring in a book entitled Neoliberalism and Everyday Life. According to Braedley, the “accidental assignment of some health care provision” to firefighters has been brought on by several factors: better fire prevention, which has freed up firefighters for other tasks; aging baby boomers; a dearth of family doctors, which has forced marginalized populations to use 911 as a way into the system. It’s a shift that has been subtle and the source of conflict. The result, however, is clear: in municipalities across Canada, what it means to be a firefighter is changing significantly.