Police respond to a shooting in Greater Vancouver. (Shane MacKichan photo)

B.C. sees biggest spike in homicides across Canada, at 34%

Much of the killing was attributed to gang violence, according to Statistics Canada

The province’s homicide rate has shot up 34 per cent since last year, and hit numbers not seen since 2009.

The figures, published Wednesday in a Statistics Canada report, say B.C. saw 118 homicides in 2017, up from 88 the year prior.

Just over two-thirds of the increase was attributed to gun violence, largely because of gangs.

Homicides linked to organized crime shot up as well, with the number of gang-related killings rising by 15 since 2016.

READ MORE: Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead in Maple Ridge

Vancouver saw the biggest jump in homicides in the province, up 25 pre cent with 52 victims – the highest the city has seen since 2009.

In Victoria, the number of homicides rose from one to five, and in Abbotsford-Mission, from three killings to nine.

READ MORE: 3 Lower Mainland homicides in 24 hours unrelated, say police

B.C. recorded the biggest spike in homicides nationwide, with 30 more deaths, followed by Quebec with 26, likely because of the January 2017 mass shooting at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Québec.

Nationwide, the homicide rate went up by 6.5 per cent, up to 660 in 2017 from 612 the year before.

Researchers attribute the rise to gang activity, as police reported 163 gang-related killings last year, up from 140 in 2016. Gangs account for one-quarter of all homicides in the country.

Indigenous people more likely to be accused of, victims of homicide

Across Canada, the homicide rate for Indigenous people increased eight per cent from the previous year, to 8.76 killings per 100,000 Aboriginal population in 2017. That’s 15 more victims in 2017, up from 141 the year before.

Women accounted for two-thirds of the rise, with a 32-per-cent increase in the number of Indigenous women killed in Canada year over year.

Indigenous people were also more likely to be accused of homicide. The rate was 12 times higher than for non-Indigenous people.

In B.C., Indigenous people were victims of homicide at nearly 1.5 times the rate of non-Indigenous people in B.C., at 3.82 killings per 100,000 people, compared to 2.35 per 100,000 for the general population.


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