The Winnipeg Police Service’s Homicide Unit continued to lead Western Canadian Police Agencies when it comes to solving the ultimate crime.
In 2017, the WPS investigated a total of twenty-three (23) homicides solving all but one case.
That translates to a solvency rate of 95.65%.
In 2016, the WPS Homicide Unit investigated a total of twenty-six (26) homicides solving all but one case securing a solvency rate of 96.15%.*
In 2015, the WPS Homicide Unit investigated a total of twenty-three (23) homicides solving all but two (2) cases securing a solvency rate of 91.3%.
Last year, police agencies in the west saw much-improved solvency rates.
2017 Western Canadian Homicide Stats
In 2017, homicide and solvency rates in Western Canada were everything but predictable;
- Vancouver – 19 homicides – 8 unsolved – solvency rate = 57.89%
- Calgary – 27 cases – 5 unsolved – solvency rate = 81.48%
- Edmonton – 41 cases – 16 unsolved – solvency rate 60.97%*
- Regina – 9 cases – 2 unsolved – solvency rate = 77%
- Saskatoon – 5 cases – 3 cases remain unsolved – solvency rate = 40%*
- Vancouver saw a 72% increase in homicide cases but saw a significant improvement over last year’s solvency rate of 18.18%
- Calgary PS experienced a significant improvement in their solvency rate
- Edmonton continues to experience high homicide rates and struggles to achieve solvency rates consistent with comparators
- Regina recorded a total of 9 homicides last year, two more than in 2016 (RPS also investigated 9 homicide cases in 2013 – which is the highest number of killings per annum recorded in the Queen City in the last decade)
- Saskatoon saw a 54% decrease in homicide cases and an almost equal reduction in their solvency rate. SPS indicates the investigations into the unsolved cases remain “very” active.
(The WPS Homicide Unit has achieved an approximate 90% average solvency rate over the last 15 years.)
Violence Against Women
In 2017, four (4) women were victims of homicide in the City of Winnipeg.
- All four cases were solved.
In 2016, seven (7) women were victims of homicide.
- Only one (1) case remains unsolved.
In 2015, five (5) women were victims of homicide.
- All five cases were solved.
Indigenous over-representation in homicide continued to trend in 2017.
Conservative estimates suggest as high as 60% of victims of homicide in 2017 were Indigenous people.
As high as 65% of the perpetrators are believed to be of Indigenous origin.
According to Statistics Canada, Indigenous people represent only 11% of the population in the City of Winnipeg.
The numbers are staggering.
This sad reality continues to be largely ignored.
In 2017, police investigated a total of seven (7) firearm-related homicide cases.
In 2016, police investigated a total of five (5) firearm-related homicide cases.
By mid-July, The Police Insider recognized and reported on the disturbing trend of escalating gun crime and gun violence in our City.
With the rise in gun possession, crime & violence, a spike in officer-involved shootings was not surprising.
Police Involved Shootings
In 2017, members of the Winnipeg Police Service were involved in a total of five (5) police-involved shootings. These shootings resulted in the deaths of two Winnipeg men.
On September 13, 2017, at 12:50 a.m., WPS Tactical Team Officers shot and killed Adrian Lacquette (23) in a north end confrontation after police pursued him after his involvement in an alleged crime spree that included assaults on a woman, an attempted carjacking with a firearm and a robbery.
Lacquette was believed to be an active gang member.
On September 23, 2017 at 4:00 p.m., WPS Tactical Team Officers shot and killed Evan Caron (33) after police were called to a domestic dispute in the Maples area.
Upon arrival, officers were confronted by Caron who subsequently stabbed one of the officers.
The officer was treated at hospital and released.
The Edmonton Police Service reported seven (7) police-involved shootings in 2017 two of which proved to be fatal.
The WPS reported no officer-involved shootings in 2016.
There were two WPS officer-involved shootings in 2015.
Gang Related Killings
In 2017, as many as eight (8) homicide cases were reported to have a drug, street gang or organized crime connection.
In 2016, the WPS investigated three (3) gang related homicide cases.
In 2015, the WPS investigated two (2) gang related homicide cases.
In 2013, the WPS investigated six (6) gang related homicides.
(In earlier years police investigated a significant number of gang related killings.)
In 2017, the WPS charged a total of nine (9) young offenders with homicide related offences that ran the gamut from 1st-degree murder to 2nd-degree murder to manslaughter.
A total of 7 males and 2 females were charged in the killings.
The accused killers ranged in age from 14 – 17 years.
(Both female young offenders were 14 years of age.)
In 2016, no young offenders were charged with murder.
The spike in youth related homicide is remarkable and should be a major concern going forward.
Court of Appeal Sends Message
In 2017, the Manitoba Court of Appeal did their part to confront young offender participation in gang related homicide.
In October the Appeal Court sent a strong message to a 17-year-old gang member convicted in the cold-blooded April 2, 2013 gang related killing of Nigel Dixon (20).
Dixon was an innocent victim with no gang affiliations.
The Court rejected McClements previously imposed youth sentence in favour of an adult life sentence.
“Given his high degree of moral blameworthiness, a youth sentence would not be sufficient in length to hold the respondent (McClements) accountable for the shocking murder of Nigel Dixon,” Court of Appeal Justice Barbara Hamilton wrote.
The Court of Appeal indicated a youth sentence was simply not long enough to reflect the seriousness of the offence and the offender’s role in it.
The ruling restored a degree of faith lost by the original incredulous sentencing decision.
2017 Homicide Age Demographics
- Youngest Victim – Youth Male (17) (Not Identified)
- Oldest Victim – Irvine Jubal Fraser (58)
- Average age of victims – 32.39 years (Total of 23 victims)
- Youngest Perpetrators – 14-year-old male & 2 – 14-year-old females
- Oldest Perpetrator – Eric John Guimond (57)
- Average age of perpetrators – 25.53 years (Total of 45 perpetrators)
Manner of Death – 2017 Homicides
- Stabbing – 13
- Shooting – 7
- Blunt Force – 3
Victim Age Demographics
- Male – 19
- Female – 4
Manner of Death – 2016 Homicides
- Blunt Force – 11
- Stabbing – 6
- Shooting – 5
- Arson – 2
Victim Age Demographics
- Male – 19
- Female – 5
Cause of Death
The top three causes of death remain;
- 1) Stabbing
- 2) Shooting
- 3) Blunt Force
Looking Ahead to 2018
What to look for in 2018…
Will we see a reduction in youth involved homicide?
Will we see a reduction in firearm related homicide?
Will we continue to see unacceptable over-representation of Indigenous people as victims or perpetrators of homicide?
Will the WPS Homicide Unit continue to solve 90% of all new homicide cases?
Will we continue to see high numbers of police-involved shootings?
- In 2017, the first homicide of the year was reported on January 3.
- In 2016, the first homicide of the year was reported on January 12.
*Two (2) WPS homicide cases from 2016 were not reported or solved until well into 2017.
*The WPS continues to include the 2016 homicide of Christine Wood in their 2017 statistics. The inclusion of Wood’s case artificially inflates the reported 2017 homicide cases. The Police Insider has raised the issue with the WPS who have yet to publicly correct the record.
*For the purposes of this report, “solved cases” refer to cases where murder or manslaughter charges are laid in connection with a homicide.
*One EPS case was determined to be a non-culpable homicide
*The Saskatoon Police Service does not have a “Homicide Unit” per se. Homicide cases are investigated by the Major Crimes Unit. The Major Crimes Unit is led by a Staff Sergeant who supervises eight (8) homicide / violent crime investigators. According to available statistics, 2016 may have been a record year for homicides in Saskatoon. Since 2000, the highest number of recorded homicides was ten (10) in 2010. The lowest number was one (1) homicide recorded in 2001.
The Police Insider wishes to express our appreciation to the Western Canadian Police Agencies who provided statistics for this story.