Toronto Star

Sep. 25, 10:39 EDT

Spousal murder rate jumps in 2001

Youths charged with murder falls to 30-year low, StatsCan says

Toronto Star

Spousal homicides rising (Sept. 26)
More on the StatsCan report
Statistics Canada site
OTTAWA (CP) Spousal homicides increased in Canada in 2001 for the first time in six years, Statistics Canada says.

However, "the rate of youths charged with homicide dropped to a 30-year low," and the overall national homicide rate remained stable for the third consecutive year.

As usual, most homicide victims knew their killer, the agency said.

"In 2001, about 45 per cent of all solved homicides were committed by an acquaintance, and 43 per cent by a family member.

"The remaining 13 per cent of victims were killed by a stranger," about the same proportion reported for the last 10 years.

Police classified 183 homicides in 2001 as family-related, 52 more than in 2000. Of those, 86 were spousal homicides, up from 68 the previous year.

Thirty young people were charged with homicide offences, 13 fewer than in 2000.

One in nine homicides was gang-related.

Ontario had 170 homicides, a rate of 1.43 per 100,000 people, below the national average of 1.78. The 1.43 was lower than the provincial average of 1.72 from the 1990s, but up from 2000's rate of 1.34.

Manitoba and Saskatchewan recorded the highest homicide rates among the provinces.

Newfoundland and Labrador had the lowest rate, with one homicide.

Statistics Canada noted that the Criminal Code classifies homicide as first- and second-degree murder, manslaughter or infanticide. Deaths caused by criminal negligence, suicides, and accidental or justifiable homicides are not included.

Toronto's 78 murders gave the city a rate of 1.60 per 100,000 people, lower than both the 10-year average and 2000, and putting it in the middle of the pack for major Canadian cities.

"Among Canada's nine largest metropolitan areas, Winnipeg reported the highest homicide rate at 2.77 victims for every 100,000 population; Ottawa reported the lowest rate (0.36), its lowest since 1984.

"Among metropolitan areas with populations between 100,000 and 500,000, Regina had the highest rate (3.53), and Sherbrooke, Que., with no homicides, had the lowest."

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