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  • Police reported 605 homicides in Canada during 2006, 58 fewer than the previous year. Following two years of increases, the national homicide rate fell by 10% to 1.85 homicides per 100,000 population.

  • The largest decreases were seen in Ontario, Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec. Quebec's homicide rate was the lowest in that province in 40 years. British Columbia and Prince Edward Island were the only provinces to report an increase in the number of homicides.

  • After three years of increase, the rate of firearm-related homicides decreased 16% in 2006. There were 190 people killed with a firearm in 2006, 33 fewer than 2005. The longer-term trend in the use of firearms to commit homicide shows a general decline since the mid-1970s, similar to the trend in total homicides.

  • Declines were reported in 2006 for both the rate of homicides involving handguns as well as the rate for rifles/shotguns. The use of rifles/shotguns has generally been declining since the mid-1970s, while the use of handguns has remained relatively stable over the last 15 years.

  • Of the 45 recovered firearms where ownership could be determined, police reported that 26 were owned by the accused and 2 by the victim. The remaining 17 firearms were owned by someone other than the accused or victim, of which 10 were reported to have been stolen.

  • The rate of youth (aged 12 to 17) accused of homicide was at its highest since data were first collected in 1961. A total of 84 youth were accused in 2006, 12 more than in 2005.

  • Police reported that one in six homicides were gang-related in 2006, unchanged from 2005. Quebec reported the highest proportion of homicides involving gangs of any province, at just over one in four incidents.

  • Most victims (83%) knew at least one of their attackers. Just over one-third were killed by a family member and another third were killed by an acquaintance. An additional 12% were killed by someone known to them through criminal activities, with strangers accounting for the remaining 17%.

  • After four years of decline, the spousal homicide rate increased slightly in 2006. There were 78 spousal homicides, 4 more than in 2005. The spousal homicide rate has generally been declining since the mid-1970s.