The RCMP held a national news conference today to provide statistical information gathered in an unprecedented in-depth examination of issues regarding Canadian Missing & Murdered Aboriginal Women.
1980 – 2012
- 1,181 – Number of Missing & Murdered Aboriginal women
- 1,017 – Number of Murdered Aboriginal women
- 164 – Number of Missing Aboriginal women
- 120 – Number of unsolved Aboriginal women homicides
- 105 – Number of missing Aboriginal women (unknown or foul play suspected)
*Data from all Police jurisdictions in Canada
The issue surrounding Missing & Murdered Aboriginal Women is one which is close to my heart. I’ve attended the crime scenes, worked the cases, both solved and unsolved, and spent time with the shattered family members while they try to put the pieces of their lives back together.
Since retiring from the Police Service I’ve written many articles confronting racist rhetoric from “so-called” Aboriginal leaders, advocates or activists like Leslie Spillet (Winnipeg Police Board) and Gladys Radek.
“As far as they’re concerned it’s just another dead Indian, enough is enough, we want justice,” Radek once said.
“The freaking army would be digging up every inch of that garbage dump to find a white child. We know it, we see it. It just tells us who we are,” Leslie Spillet said in an interview published in the Winnipeg Free Press. “Do you think if a bunch of kids from River Heights started killing themselves or each other that something wouldn’t be done,” she continued.
After reviewing the twenty-two (22) page RCMP National Operational Overview report I was struck by an enlightening statistic regarding Homicide solve rates;
- Eighty-eight (88%) percent of all Aboriginal female homicides are solved
- Eighty-nine (89%) percent of all Non-Aboriginal female homicides are solved
These are significant findings that support my assertion racism is a non-contributing factor when it comes to the investigation into the murder of Aboriginal women. Of course, I knew that, but that doesn’t change the fact the Aboriginal Community still hangs on to the “perception” that racism and investigative indifference impacts these cases.
Is anyone surprised Aboriginal people are more inclined to believe rhetoric over reality?
I’m certainly not.
How can you blame them if that’s the message they receive from Aboriginal people who have achieved “status” in the community.
Another enlightening statistic supports an assertion you may have read in The Police Insider;
- The solvency rate for Aboriginal female victims of homicide plummets to sixty (60%) percent when the victim is involved in the sex trade
While “activists” would have Aboriginal people believe racism and investigative indifference are the primary causes for these low solvency rates, enlightened people know murder investigations involving sex trade workers presents many significant challenges to Law Enforcement. Challenges such as;
- Extremely large suspect pool
- Inability to establish a victim time line
- Inability to establish motive
- Lack of witnesses
- Outdoor crime scenes
(Police Insider article, “Elusive Killers – Sex Trade Worker Slayings Not so Easy to Solve,” explores these significant issues, many of which are unique to these killings.)
While the “activists” prefer to feed the victimization mindset and fuel the racial divide it seems the RCMP findings finally provide some concrete facts to refute the tired urban racial myths they so want to perpetuate.
We learned much from the detailed report, a report that contains a variety of statistical information that includes;
- General statistics
- Homicide statistics
- Missing statistics
- Homicide Offender characteristics
- Offender to Victim statistics
- Vulnerability Factors of murdered women
While statistical data is important, risk factors and an action plan loom large in any proactive solution.
Risk factors previously disclosed by the Project Devote team remain consistent but were enhanced by the National review;
- High risk lifestyle
- Substance abuse / addiction
- Involvement in the sex trade
- Involvement in criminal activity
- Transient lifestyle
- Mental Health issues
The proactive aspect of the report has a segment identified as “Next Steps,” and contains four components;
- Enhancing efforts on unresolved cases
- Focusing prevention efforts
- Increasing public awareness
- Strengthening the data
The National Operational Overview Report fails to offer much in the way of an epiphany. Any street cop working the means streets of Winnipeg has a strong sense of Aboriginal victimization and over-representation in criminal justice. Street cops see the pain, tragedy and dysfunction everyday and would have no difficulty providing us with a long list of risk factors. No, none of this is news to them.
What the report does offer is irrefutable statistical data that supports what many of us have said for years;
- There is no mystery in any of this
- Allegations of racism & investigative indifference are fabrications
- The risk factors are fully known
- A National Enquiry would be a colossal waste of time, money and resources
- The Police do not own the problem
The missing components are ownership and leadership.
So far, I haven’t seen much of either.