Homicide in Canada, 2011: highlights

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  • There were 598 homicides in Canada in 2011, 44 more than in 2010. The 2011 rate of 1.73 homicides per 100,000 population was 7% higher than the previous year. Despite annual fluctuations, the homicide rate has generally been declining since the mid-1970s, although it has stabilized somewhat over the past decade.
  • Although there was an overall increase in homicides in 2011, the rate of firearm homicides per 100,000 population declined to its lowest point in almost 50 years. While handguns continued to account for two-thirds of firearm homicides, they also declined in 2011.
  • In 2011, there were 10 multiple-victim homicides committed with a firearm, accounting for 22 victims. The number of multiple-victim firearm homicides has generally been decreasing over the past 30 years. Since 2001, about half of these homicides were family-related.
  • An increase in stabbings accounted for most of the overall increase in homicides in 2011. There were 39 more stabbings in 2011 than in 2010, accounting for just over one-third of all homicides.
  • As in past years, homicide victims usually knew their killer. Most of the overall increase in 2011 was due to a large jump in homicides committed by acquaintances. Family-related and intimate partner homicides remained stable, while there was a small drop in homicides committed by strangers.
  • The 2011 increase in homicides was driven by 32 additional homicides in Alberta and 21 more in Quebec. With 28 fewer homicides in 2011 than in 2010, the homicide rate in Ontario reached its lowest point since 1966.
  • Homicide rates were highest in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. Among the provinces, Manitoba reported the highest rate for the fifth year in a row, followed by Saskatchewan and Alberta.
  • With 39 homicides in 2011, Winnipeg reported the highest homicide rate among Canada's 33 census metropolitan areas (CMAs), followed by Halifax and Edmonton. The 2011 homicide rates in Winnipeg and Halifax were the highest recorded in those CMAs since data became available in 1981.
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