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  • Police reported 610 homicides in Canada during 2009, 1 less than the previous year. After peaking in the mid-1970s, the homicide rate per 100,000 population generally declined until 1999 and, despite annual fluctuations, has remained relatively stable since.

  • Among the provinces, Alberta had the largest decline in the number of homicides from the previous year (down 15).

  • Manitoba reported the highest homicide rate per 100,000 population for the third consecutive year followed by Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Alberta. 

  • Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador reported the lowest homicide rates in 2009. Quebec's rate dropped by 5%, reaching its lowest point in over 40 years.

  • Among census metropolitan areas, Abbotsford-Mission reported the highest homicide rate, followed by Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Saguenay, Halifax, Vancouver and Edmonton.

  • In 2009, police reported 124 (or 1 in 5) homicides to be gang-related, 14 fewer than in the previous year. This drop was primarily due to a decline in Alberta. 

  • Homicide victims were most likely to be stabbed or shot, with each method accounting for about one-third of all homicides. A further 20% of victims were beaten, 7% were strangled or suffocated and the remaining 7% were killed by other methods.

  • In 2009, the rate of firearm-related homicides declined by 12% after increasing 24% between 2002 and 2008. More than half (55%) of all homicides committed with a firearm in 2009 were gang-related.

  • The number of youth accused of homicide increased substantially in 2009. There were 78 youth aged 12 to 17 accused of committing homicide in 2009, 23 more than the previous year. This represents the second highest rate per 100,000 population reported in over 30 years.

  • In 2009, the rate of female homicide victims reached the second lowest rate per 100,000 population since data collection began in 1961. 

  • 82% of solved homicides were committed by someone known to the victim. However, in 2009, the number of victims killed by a stranger increased by 17% from the previous year.

  • There was a slight increase in spousal homicides in 2009 with 3 more than the previous year. However, spousal homicide rates have generally been declining over the past 30 years.

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