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Homicide on the rise, with the largest percentage jump Waterloo Region has had in 42 years

Waterloo Regional Police Service Headquarters - 570 News file photo

Nationally, 2015 had the largest percentage jump in homicide victim rates since 1975.

The Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics says most homicides are the result of a stabbing (36.6%), however shooting deaths are on the rise and now account for 30.5% of homicides.

That trend was also present in Waterloo Region, where the rate increased by 98.2% from 2014.


NOTE: The census metropolitan area boundaries exclude the Township of Wellesley and the Township of Wilmot.

“What’s concerning is the increase, about 30% now include a firearm-related death,” says Waterloo Regional Police Chief Bryan Larkin. “In our region in 2015, we had two homicides that were related to firearms.”

Larkin says officers are concerned with potential drug robberies as marijuana dispensaries open up in our region.

“I think we need a concerted effort, not only in our region but across the province,” says Larkin. “We need to do business differently, and to tackle those who are importing, and those that are trafficking in illegal firearms and crime guns.”

He says almost all homicides are committed by someone the victim knew.

“Any death of somebody that is lost to a homicide is a concern in our community,” says Larkin. “We’re not living in a world where the person who is walking down the street is likely to be targeted, generally homicides are extremely targeted and tragically a number of those are family violence.”

Police say it is important to invest in family and domestic violence services throughout our region.

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Repeat after me, 570News Reporter: “1 year does not make a trend. It takes multiple data points to make a trend. I do not understand basic statistics terms.”

Talking about a “98.2% increase” in the homicide rate is absolutely useless without stating what those rates were. This is especially true in Waterloo Region where we have so few homicides. The local number is so low, in fact, that only twice in the last 34 years has it even hit double digits. It bounces around in that single-digit range and it does not take very many incidents to make a seeming huge percentage change from one year to the next in either numbers or rates.

As you can see in the charts below from the the CANSIM data, even though our population has almost doubled in the last 34 years, the absolute number of homicides each year has stayed essentially the same. And that means our local homicide has been halved in that time.


So, basically, this article is irresponsible journalism for highlighting a single year change as a trend, and for doing so as a percentage which is meaningless without actual numbers for context.

January 12, 2017 at 1:45 pm