Thunder Bay – NEWS – In 2020, once again Thunder Bay holds the dubious title as “Murder Capital of Canada”. There were 6.35 homicides in our city per 100,000 of population according to figures released today by Statistics Canada. Winnipeg with 4.93 homicides was in second place in the running.
Nationally there were 1.95 homicides per 100,000 of population.
Statistics Canada reports, “Nationally, police reported 743 homicides in 2020, which includes the 22 victims of the Nova Scotia attacks, the largest mass murder in Canadian history”.
This is the highest number of homicides recorded in Canada since 1991, and 56 more than in 2019, pushing Canada’s homicide rate up 7% from 1.83 homicides per 100,000 population in 2019 to 1.95 per 100,000 population in 2020.
This marks the highest national homicide rate since 2005.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound impacts on Canadian society since March 2020. These marked societal and economic changes have contributed to a shift in crime patterns across Canada. In 2020, during the pandemic, the Crime Severity Index (CSI), which measures the volume and severity of police-reported crime in Canada, decreased 8%. In contrast, homicide rates, which have a significant influence on the overall and violent CSIs due to the severity of the crime, increased in 2020. While homicide continues to be a relatively rare occurrence, representing less than 0.2% of all violent crimes in Canada in 2020, homicide rates are considered benchmarks for levels of violence both in Canada and internationally.
Many victim service providers and victim advocates have expressed concerns over the impact of lockdown restrictions and stay-at-home orders put in place due to the pandemic on violence in the home. Risk factors for family violence such as social isolation, reduced income and job loss were amplified amidst the pandemic, potentially leading to increased tension in the home and escalations of violence. In fact, a web panel survey conducted by Statistics Canada in March 2020 found that 8% of Canadians were concerned about violence in the home during the pandemic. While the number of spousal homicides decreased by 9 in 2020, Canada saw more homicides committed by other family members (+11) and intimate partners (+7).