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Winnipeg, Manitoba lead in murder rates: Statistics Canada
Winnipeg and Manitoba have once more made their marks as the country’s hot spot for homicides, according to the latest numbers from Statistics Canada.
New numbers reveal that Winnipeg had the highest rate of homicides per capita of any major city in the country in 2011, with 39 deaths.
“Winnipeg had the highest homicide rate among all census metropolitan areas. It was also the highest in Winnipeg since data collection began back in 1981,” said John Turner from Statistics Canada.
And Manitoba has the highest rate of homicides for the fifth straight year. Manitoba had 54 homicides in 2011, more than 4.2 per for every 100,000 citizens.
Saskatchewan and Alberta were next with about 3.6 and 2.8 respectively.
Nationwide, the rate was 1.73 homicides per 100,000 people. Overall, Canada had 598 killings, almost 50 more than in 2010.
For the first time in three years, the homicide rate was up across the country. Most of the 2011 increase was in Alberta and Quebec.
“Most of the increase was in homicides committed by acquaintances. Homicides by family, intimate partner were fairly stable between 2010, 2011 and there’s a slight decrease in homicides committed by strangers,” said Turner.
The agency said the homicide rate in Canada as a whole has remained relatively stable over the past decade.
“The national homicide rate peaked in the 1970s. Since then, there's been a steady decline, but its somewhat stabilized over the last decade,” said Turner.
Linda Kozlowski’s son David Vincett, 20, was murdered in September 2011 in Winnipeg.
A 14-year-old suspect was charged.
She said the boy was convicted of attacking a postal worker the year before.
She points towards bad decisions made by young people as a key factor contributing to Winnipeg’s high crime rate.
“They go into the system, they come out a harder person and they’re already adults and they’re set in their ways,” said Kozlowski.
While crimes can be committed by people of all ages, she believes setting people on the right path at an early age is significant to curbing crime.
Kozlowski believes there needs to be more youth programming and opportunities for long-term mentorship.
Youth outreach workers said keeping kids off the streets and helping them set positive goals affects where they end up as an adult.
“You plant them the message and the picture of positivity and, yeah, statistics have shown, you can definitely avoid those particular pitfalls,” said Ken Opaleke from West Broadway Youth Outreach.
Kozlowski said she hopes more programs such as the one at West Broadway will be able to help prevent other families from losing loved ones.