Issue 18-195 Homicide

November 22, 2018

Police services in British Columbia reported 118 homicides during 2017. There were 30 more homicides last year than in 2016, pushing the province’s homicide rate to 2.45 (up from 1.85 in 2016). A total of 44 gang-related homicides were reported by police in 2017, up considerably from the number recorded in 2016 (29). Gang-related homicides account for more than one-third (37%) of all reported homicides in British Columbia. Rates of gang-related homicide have risen markedly over the past decade, climbing from 0.54 per 100,000 population in 2007 to 0.91 in 2017. B.C. had the second-highest rate of gang-related homicide in Canada after Manitoba (0.97).

Among metropolitan areas, Abbotsford-Mission reported the second highest homicide rate (4.72) in Canada – only Thunder Bay recorded a higher rate (5.80 in 2017). Abbotsford-Mission (4.72), Vancouver (2.02) and Victoria (1.32) each saw increases in reported homicide rates, while Kelowna (2.99) posted a slightly lower rate compared to 2016.

Canada-wide, police recorded 660 homicides, yielding a homicide rate of 1.80, up from 1.69 in 2016. Nunavut (15.79) and Yukon (20.80) posted the highest homicide rates overall. Among the provinces, the highest rates were reported in Manitoba (3.51) and Saskatchewan (3.18), while P.E.I. (0.00) and Newfoundland and Labrador (0.76) posted the lowest rates.

Canada’s firearm homicide rate continued to climb in 2017. Handguns remain the most common (6 in 10) type of firearm employed during a homicide. Among the provinces, B.C. (+22 victims) had the largest increase in the number of firearm-related homicides in 2017. In that year, more than half (53%) of the province's homicides involved firearms, 68% of which were known or suspected to be gang-related.

Data Source: Statistics Canada