REGINA – NEWS – Saskatchewan RCMP Major Crimes has witnessed a troubling 50% increase in the number of homicide victims from 2019 to 2023, raising significant concerns about public safety. Notably, investigators have found that 44% of individuals charged with homicide had been on conditions, bail, parole, or probation at the time they committed these offences.
Here are the key details of this alarming trend:
Increase in Homicides
The period from 2019 to 2023 has seen a 50% rise in homicide victims within the jurisdiction of Saskatchewan RCMP Major Crimes. This surge is deeply concerning for law enforcement.
Homicide Offenders on Bail
A disturbing revelation is that nearly half (44%) of individuals charged with homicide were under conditions, bail, parole, or probation when they committed the crimes. This situation is a cause for frustration among investigators.
Cluster of Homicides
In 2023, the Major Crimes unit faced five instances where two to three separate homicides occurred in less than 48 hours, marking an alarming trend. Despite the challenges, Major Crimes investigators have demonstrated exceptional dedication and expertise, leading to the resolution of 84% of homicides since 2015.
The Saskatchewan RCMP has undertaken proactive measures to monitor prolific offenders released back into the communities they serve. In 2023, officers conducted approximately 17,000 proactive conditions checks to ensure compliance with court-ordered conditions, including curfews, weapon possession restrictions, contact restrictions, and more.
Violated Court Ordered Conditions
From January to December 2023, RCMP officers identified over 15,800 cases of violated court-ordered conditions in Saskatchewan RCMP jurisdiction. These violations, discovered through proactive checks and other encounters, often resulted in charges for failure to comply with release order conditions.
Saskatchewan Serious Violent Offender Response (SVOR)
The RCMP Saskatchewan Enforcement Response Team collaborates with various agencies, including Crown prosecutors, municipal police services, and mental health associations, through the SVOR program. SVOR focuses on monitoring high-risk violent offenders, ensuring compliance with court-ordered conditions, and providing support services to reduce the risk of reoffending.
Amendments to Criminal Code
On January 4, 2024, amendments to the Criminal Code and bail provisions (Bill C-48) aim to target prolific violent offenders. These changes are seen as a step in the right direction to prevent the release of individuals who pose a threat to communities.
Saskatchewan RCMP Commanding Officer Rhonda Blackmore expressed hope that the amended bail provisions would contribute to community safety. She commended the efforts of front-line officers and specialized units in monitoring, suppressing, and investigating violent offenders while emphasizing the importance of information-sharing among partner agencies in making bail, release conditions, or detention decisions.