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 25 killings.
(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. Here’s a comparative look at the numbers:
- 2014 – 9
- 2013 – 5
- 2012 – 7
- 2011 – 10
- Seven of the nine female victims of homicide were First Nations women
- Four of the seven cases were solved resulting in charges against three First Nations men and one First Nations woman
- Three cases remain unsolved (Tina Fontaine, Beatrice Crane & Angela Poorman)
Stabbings on the rise
In 2014, a total of 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 a number of Police Insider articles during the year.
Edged weapon attacks and stabbings are often fueled 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
It seems 2014 will go down as the year of the justified killing.
On April 19, 2014, a 17-year-old male youth was stabbed to death by a 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 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 90 percent.
Comparisons with other cities reveal an interesting picture:
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
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 Winnipeg:
- 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