Highlights

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  • Following a decade of relative stability, homicides decreased substantially in 2010. There were 554 police-reported homicides in 2010, 56 fewer than the year before. The 2010 homicide rate dropped to 1.62 per 100,000 population, its lowest level since 1966.
  • With 35 fewer homicides in 2010 than in 2009, the rate of homicide in British Columbia (1.83) fell 31%. The decrease resulted in the lowest homicide rate in this province since the mid-1960s.
  • Despite declines, homicide rates were generally higher in western Canada, led by Manitoba and Saskatchewan. The exception to this trend was in Nova Scotia where the rate rose 39% to its highest level since 1998 and the third highest rate among the provinces.
  • For the second year in a row, Thunder Bay recorded the highest homicide rate among Canada's census metropolitan areas (CMAs), followed by Saskatoon and Regina. Substantial declines in homicide rates occurred in several of Canada's largest CMAs in 2010, most notably in Vancouver where the 42% decline resulted in this city's lowest rate since data for CMAs became available in 1981.
  • The number of firearm-related homicides decreased in 2010 from 180 to 170. Despite some fluctuation, the rate of firearm homicides has generally been on the decline over the past three decades.
  • In 2010, 94 homicides reported by police were considered to be gang-related, representing 17% of all homicides reported to police. This was down from the record high in 2008 when 138 homicides were reported by police as gang-related. Until 2008, rates of gang-related homicides had generally been increasing over the previous two decades.
  • As in previous years, victims of homicide were most likely to have been killed by someone they knew. Declines in homicide between 2009 and 2010 were reported across all major accused-victim relationship categories. Rates of homicide committed by acquaintances and family members saw decreases of 7% and 9% respectively. Rates fell even further for homicides committed by strangers (-14%) and criminal acquaintances (-21%).
  • Following three decades of general decline, the rate of intimate partner homicide has been relatively stable in recent years. In 2010, there were 89 victims of homicide by an intimate partner, one above the number recorded in 2009.
  • Between 2000 and 2010, 621 persons accused of homicide were suspected of having a mental or developmental disorder, representing 13% of persons accused over this period. Approximately one-third of accused with a suspected mental or developmental disorder had been previously convicted of a violent offence.
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