Homicide in Canada, 2007: Highlights

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  • Police reported 594 homicides in Canada during 2007, 12 fewer than the previous year, resulting in a 3% decrease in the homicide rate (1.80 homicides per 100,000 population).

  • This is the second consecutive decline in the homicide rate and continues the long-term downward trend from its peak in 1975.

  • Homicide rates fell in seven of ten provinces, with Manitoba being the main exception. The 2007 rate in Manitoba was the highest among all the provinces and the highest in that province since statistics were first collected in 1961.

  • Contrary to a decline in homicides overall, gang-related homicides continued to increase in 2007 and accounted for about one in five homicides in Canada.

  • Generally, Canadian homicide victims are at equal risk of being either shot or stabbed, with each method accounting for about one-third of all homicides.

  • The use of handguns to commit homicide continues to rise, while the use of rifles/shotguns continues to decline. In 2007, two-thirds of firearm-related homicides were committed with a handgun.

  • Most homicide victims know their killer. In 2007, 84% of solved homicides were committed by someone known to the victim, most often a family member or an acquaintance.

  • Although the spousal homicide rate fell 18% in 2007, spousal homicides continue to account for just under half of the homicides committed by family members.

  • After peaking in 2006, the number of youth accused of committing a homicide decreased from 85 to 74 in 2007. However, the 2007 rate of youth accused of committing homicide was the second highest since 1961.

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