EDITORIALS, LOCAL NEWS

2014 Murder in River City – Year in Review

Winnipeg Homicide Scene (PHOTO JGJ)
Winnipeg Homicide Scene (Photo JGJ)

It’s that time of year again.

Time to reflect on the year that was and look forward to the year that’s coming.

In 2014, the homicide scene in the City of Winnipeg went sideways matching last year’s total of twenty-five (25) killings.

The Numbers

WINNIPEG MURDER SCENE
WINNIPEG MURDER SCENE

(Note: 2011 was a record year for homicide in Winnipeg.)

When you drill down on the numbers a disturbing picture emerges regarding Winnipeg homicide in 2014.

Violence Against Women

It appears the City of Winnipeg experienced a dramatic increase in violence against women in 2014.

Female Homicides 

  • 2014 – 9
  • 2013 – 5
  • 2012 – 7
  • 2011 – 10

Factoids

  • 7 of the 9 female victims of homicide were First Nations
  • 4 of the 7 cases were solved resulting in charges against 3 First Nations men and 1 First Nations woman
  • 3 cases remain unsolved (Tina Fontaine, Beatrice Crane & Angela Poorman)

I find it extremely disappointing that the National conversation has centered on violence against women and the inordinate number of killings of Indigenous women yet  the City of Winnipeg experienced an 80% increase in the number of women killed in 2014 vs 2013.

I also find it equally disappointing that political and First Nations leaders continue to deny the inconvenient truth that First Nations men are responsible for the majority of the murders of First Nations women.

It’s called domestic violence.

Violence that can be reduced with a multi-faceted cooperative approach.

It’s called breaking the cycle.

Stabbings on the Rise

In 2014, a total of fifteen (15) Winnipeg residents died as a result of edged weapon attacks or stabbings.

In 2013, stabbings were cited as the manner of death in thirteen (13) homicides.

The uptick in edged weapon attacks and stabbings was noted in several Police Insider articles during the year.

Edged weapon attacks and stabbings are often fuelled by alcohol or drugs, or a combination of both, and are indicative of a society plagued by addiction and substance abuse issues.

It’s not all bad news.

In 2014, the City of Winnipeg experienced a dramatic decrease in gang related homicide and young offender participation in the ultimate crime.

Youths Charged with Homicide

  • 2014 – 1
  • 2013 – 4
  • 2012 – 4
  • 2011 – 10

Gang Related Homicide

  • 2014 – 2
  • 2013 – 6

Justifiable Homicides

It seems 2014 will go down as the year of the justified killing.

On April 19, 2014, a seventeen (17) year old male youth was stabbed to death by a thirty-eight (38) year old man. The investigation revealed the man stabbed the youth in self-defense after he was attacked during a strong-arm robbery.

On May 18, 2014, Marlon Dean Laronde (33) died from blunt force trauma after a forty-five (45) year old man assaulted him while intervening in a domestic dispute.

Both cases were reviewed by Justice Officials who determined the homicides were justifiable and that no reasonable likelihood of conviction existed in either case.

While such findings are not unprecedented, it is extremely rare that two such cases have occurred in the same calendar year.

2014 Solvency Rates

The WPS Homicide Unit has traditionally secured Nation leading solvency rates that approach or exceed ninety (90%) percent.

Comparisons

Winnipeg – 88% solvency rate – 25 killings – 3 unsolved

Edmonton – 85% solvency rate – 35 killings – 5 unsolved

Calgary – 66% solvency rate – 30 killings – 10 unsolved

Vancouver – 66% solvency rate – 9 killings – 3 unsolved

Saskatoon – 72% solvency rate – 7 killings – 2 unsolved

Regina – 80% solvency rate – 5 killings – 1 unsolved

Looking Ahead to 2015

Murder remains one of the most difficult crimes to prevent or predict.

No one can accurately forecast what the future holds regarding the ultimate crime in Winnipeg for the coming year.

Having said that, certain facts remain regarding homicide in YWG;

  • Random killings occur but are the exception not the rule
  • The majority of Winnipeg murder victims know their killer
  • Domestic, family violence and violence against women continues to be a serious issue that must be confronted
  • Indigenous women continue to be over-represented in our homicide statistics
  • Nine out of ten homicides in Winnipeg are solved
  • Stabbings or edged weapon attacks continue to be the number one cause of death
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5 Comments

  1. Douglas…

    You are correct when you suggest most wounds are preventable.

    Most homicide cases I worked were senseless killings fuelled by drugs, alcohol and a lack of emotional control…

    These are all areas of causation that can be changed with education and a determined effort to change our culture.

    Thank you for commenting.

  2. Appreciate your comments….

    Its’ true we can and must do better.

    Part of that process involves accepting inconvenient truths and taking action to reduce victimization.

    Talk, blame and deflection will never get us there…

  3. Edmonton’s solve rate drops a bit if you leave out the 8 recent murders attributed to one perpetrator. Multiple victim homicides make direct comparisons difficult. Another way of looking at the Edmonton statistics is to focus on perpetrators and realize that 18% of them have not been identified. In Calgary, the statistics are affected by the murders of 5 individuals by a single perpetrator, leaving 38% of the killers unknown (assuming no serial killer out there).

    Our homicide unit seems to be performing very well with only 12% of perpetrators not (yet) identified.

    Violence rarely begins with homicide. We must make more and better efforts to identify sub-lethal violence and focus on prevention. Our Aboriginal population is at greater risk of being both victims and perpetrators, as well as other health and safety risks they carry disproportionately. We can do better, and it requires that we understand and respect the challenges those at risk are facing.

  4. We need to spank our children show respect and punish the youth now before its out of control. More than ever.

  5. To your point: Stabbings or edged weapon attacks continue to be the number one cause of death.

    This is because of how easily knives are able to be acquired. Machetes, bowie knives, throwing knives etc… etc. can be obtained with little to no effort and are sold without need of identification of any sort. These are not kitchen knives which is another discussion as some chef knives are worse than any hunting knife and can be accessed with ease by anyone. My point is that this is not a quick fix (freedoms, intent, social climate and so on factor in) thus the topic is often shelved to collect dust until the virtually inevitable next incident. We must understand that the city structure and society we live in is equatable to a work place so it’s time to put on the work clothes and start enacting change. The saying may state that “Time heals all wounds” but lets start realizing that most wounds are preventable.

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