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Homicides in Canada, 1963 to 2013

The homicide rate fell 8% from 2012 to 1.44 victims per 100,000 population. This marks the lowest homicide rate since 1966.

SOURCE: Statistics Canada

National homicide rate falls to 1966 levels

Canada’s homicide rate dropped for the second consecutive year in 2013, recording numbers not seen since 1966. Canadian police services reported 505 homicides in 2013, 38 fewer than the previous year. That marks an 8-per-cent decline from 2012 to 1.44 victims per 100,000 population.

The decrease is thanks, in part, to 40 fewer homicides in Quebec. In 2012, that province recorded the second year of higher than average numbers of homicides with 108. The decline to 68 homicides in 2013 marks a 37 per cent decline to a rate of 0.83 per 100,000 population. That also marks the lowest rate recorded in Quebec since reporting began in 1961.

Homicides by province and territory

Rates per 100,000 population

SOURCE: Statistics Canada

Most provinces show lower homicides rates than 10-year average

Six other provinces, though, saw modest increases in the number of homicides. rates continued to be generally highest in the West and the North. Provincially, Manitoba reported the highest homicide rate (3.87 per 100,000 population), followed by Saskatchewan (2.71), Alberta (2.04) and British Columbia (1.66). Nunavut (11.24) and the Northwest Territories (4.59) reported homicide rates higher than any province, while there were no homicides in Yukon for the third consecutive year.

However, the homicide rates in all but two provinces and territories were below their 10-year averages. The two outliers, Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island, saw homicide rates in 2013 that were above their previous 10-year average.

Homicides by census metropolitan area, 2013

Among Canada's census metropolitan areas, Regina reported the highest homicide rate, followed by Winnipeg and Thunder Bay. Not shown are Moncton, Saguenay, Sherbrooke, Peterborough and Guelph, all of which recorded 0 homicides in 2013.

SOURCE: Statistics Canada

Regina, Winnipeg and Thunder Bay record highest homicide rates

In Canada’s cities, Regina’s 9 homicides contributed to the highest homicide rate in the country (3.84 per 100,000 population), followed by Winnipeg (26 homicides or 3.24 per 100,000 population) and Thunder Bay (3 homicides or 2.46 per 100,000 population). Homicide rates were below the national average in Canada's two largest CMAs, Toronto (1.34) and Montréal (1.08), while the third largest CMA, Vancouver (1.72), reported a homicide rate above the national average. No homicides were reported in Moncton, Saguenay, Sherbrooke, Peterborough or Guelph in 2013.

Methods used to commit homicide

SOURCE: Statistics Canada

Murder by method

The number of fire-arm related homicides declined in 2013 to 131, down 41 from 2012. The result is the lowest rate of firearm-related homicide since comparable data became available in 1974. However, shooting was the cause of death in 27 per cent of homicides. By far, the majority of firearm-related homicides (68 per cent) were committed with the use of a handgun, which matches a trend that has held steady over the past 20 years. However, the rate of handgun-related homicides reached its lowest point since 1998.

Unlike firearm-related homicides, the number of fatal stabbings increased. There were 195 fatal stabbings, 31 more than in 2012. Stabbings accounted for 40 per cent of all homicides in Canada in 2013.

Another look at homicide by method data

Of the 505 homicides in 2013, 131 were the result of shooting, 195 stabbing, 102 beating, 41 strangulation and 31 by either other or unknown methods.

SOURCE: Statistics Canada

Another look at murder by method

"Other methods" include poisoning, exposure, shaken baby syndrome, deaths caused by vehicles and heart attacks.

If multiple methods are used against one victim, only the primary method causing the death is counted. Thus, only one method is counted per victim.

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