Well, with all the excitement about the Federal Fall Economic Statement yesterday, the release by Statistics Canada of the 2017 homicide numbers flew in somewhat under the media radar. According to Statistics Canada, the homicides in Canada hit its highest rate in almost a decade in 2017 with much of the increase attributed to more firearm-related and gang-related incidents. The firearm-related homicide rate increased 18 percent from 2016 to 0.72 per 100,000 population—the highest rate since 1992. Police reported 660 homicide victims in Canada in 2017, 48 more than in 2016. The homicide rate rose 7 percent in 2017 to 1.80 victims per 100,000 population—the highest level since 2009. It would appear that the upward increase in homicide rates was driven by British Columbia and Quebec.
What is also of interest is the homicide rate by CMA for 2017 as shown in Figure 1. In 2017, the homicide rate per 100,000 ranged from a high of 5.8 in Thunder Bay to a low of 0 in Saguenay. Greater Sudbury came in close to the bottom at 0.61. The good news for Thunder Bay is that the homicide rate for 2017 is down from 2016 when it stood at 6.62 per 100,000. The bad news is if one takes the average homicide rates for all CMAs for the period 2006 to 2016 (see Figure 2) Thunder Bay also ranks the highest at an average of 4.04 per 100,000, just ahead of Winnipeg at an average of 3.69. As for Sudbury, its homicide rate is up from last year - when it stood at zero - but given the rankings there does not seem to be that much to worry about there.
Needless to say, despite an improvement in 2017 Thunder Bay still has work to do.