Statistics Canada has released its 2007 report on homicide in Canada and there are some interesting figures therein.
Homicides have decreased from 2006 in total, albeit marginally, at 594, down by 12.
Stabbings account for one third of the 2007 homicides and firearms for another third. This has been the trend, according to Stats Canada, for the past 20 years.
For all of the political rhetoric we hear about violent crime in Canada the homicide rate has been declining since the mid-70s and continued that decline in 2007.
For firearms owners the one statistic of concern is that while overall firearm-related homicides have been decreasing over the past 30-odd years, the portion committed with handguns has been rising. Again, according to the Stats Canada report, twenty years ago they accounted for one-quarter of firearm homicides. In 2007 that figure had risen to two-thirds. This will play right into the hands of politicians such as Toronto Mayor David Miller whose shtick has been to demonize legitimate handgun owners every time Toronto sees another gang killing.
But there are two further pieces of information in the report that put a different spin on those figures.
One is that 81% of handgun related homicides are committed in Canada’s bigger cities. Tied directly to that statistic is that gang-related homicides are a major contributor.
Gang related homicides in Canada have been increasing since 1991 when Stats Canada first began to collect this data. More startling is that they now account for one in every five homicides reported to police and (not surprisingly) that two-thirds of those were committed with a firearm. That compares to 20% of the homicides not involving gangs.
Although there was a drop in the number of youth involved in homicides, about one-third of those were also gang-related. That figure is for the number who were accused and not the number who may have actually murdered someone. You have to get caught to be accused.
It would seem obvious that the high homicide rates recorded in the larger cities have a direct correlation to gang activity.
The city of Toronto overall had the most homicides (111), which was to be expected given its population numbers, of which 54 were committed with a firearm and of those, 23 were considered to be gang-related.
In other cities the effect of gangs on homicide statistics was even more apparent.
Winnipeg: Firearm related homicides – 5. Gang-related homicides – 5.
Edmonton: Firearm related homicides – 13. Gang-related homicides – 16.
Hamilton: Firearm related homicides – 2. Gang-related homicides – 3.
Calgary: Firearm related homicides – 7. Gang-related homicides – 4.
Vancouver: Firearm related homicides – 24. Gang-related homicides – 19.
Montreal: Firearm related homicides – 22. Gang-related homicides – 20.
Does anyone really think that you could stop these gang killing by banning anything?
Regardless, the fact is that homicides in Canada are decreasing; firearm-related homicides as well. That there are now more homicides committed with handguns than with long guns is irrelevant. If by waving a magic wand you could make all the handguns in the country disappear the gangs would switch to long guns and if the long guns disappeared they would bomb each other and if necessary club each other to death.
It’s like the argument the anti-gunners make about gun-related suicides being down since the gun control laws came into effect, as though that is a major victory even though overall suicide rates haven’t gone down. In their fanatical little minds they somehow find it more comforting that the same number of people are dying because they’re killing themselves by some method other than a firearm.
Pretty hard to have a conversation with that mindset.