On Sunday, a man disguised as a police officer went on a shooting rampage in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia killing 17 people. This was probably the worst such attack in the North American country – known for its calm and serenity – in 30 years.
Several bodies were found inside and outside one home in the small, rural town of Portapique, about 100km (60 miles) north of Halifax. Police describes this house as the “first scene”. A police officer was among those killed. Bodies were also found at other locations and buildings were set on fire. The suspected gunman is also dead.
Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil has called this, “one of the most senseless acts of violence in our province’s history,”
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Where is Nova Scotia?
Nova Scotia can be described as a heaven on earth in warm weather. It is a maritime province in eastern Canada. With a population of around a million (940,000 as of 2019 Figures) it is the most populous of Canada’s three Maritime provinces and the four Atlantic provinces.
It is the country’s second-most densely populated province and second-smallest province by area, both after neighbouring Prince Edward Island. Its area of 55,284 square kilometres (21,345 square miles) includes Cape Breton Island and 3,800 other small coastal islands. The peninsula that makes up Nova Scotia’s mainland is connected to the rest of North America by the Isthmus of Chignecto, on which the province’s land border with New Brunswick is located.
Serious Crime is on rise across Canada
However, there are concerns that serious crime is on rise in the erstwhile peaceful North American country that had struggled to contain violence in its cities – and had been successful despite a very high immigration rate from 1990’s onwards. In “Fifth wave of Immigration to Canada” from 1970’s onwards more than 200,000 immigrate to Canada mostly from developing world. Despite an overall trend towards increase in serious crime the homicide rate in 2018 was less than 2017.
Canada’s homicide rate per capita (per 100,000) inhabitants has been declining since a peak in the 1970s. After dropping to a low point of 1.44 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in 2013, Canada’s homicide rate had been rising again in recent years.
Today, Canada has suffered one of the worst mass shootings in its history. We mourn the deaths of the victims and send love and solidarity to their families and friends.https://t.co/FhkQOkTVYI
— Dimitri Lascaris (@dimitrilascaris) April 20, 2020
In 2015 the rate rose to 1.68 per 100,000 people, up from 1.47 the previous year. Statistics released on the year 2016 revealed that as per police reports 611 homicides took place across Canada in 2016. It was a rate of 1.68 per 100,000 people.
Canada’s national homicide rate in 2017 was the highest it’s been in a decade. “Statistics Canada” explains it happened because of a spike in gang-related violence and shootings. The agency said there were 660 reported homicides in Canada in 2017. Not only was that an increase of nearly eight per cent from 2016, it also pushed up the homicide rate to 1.8 victims for every 100,000 people — the highest since 2009.However it again dropped in 2018.
In 2018, police reported 651 homicides, 15 fewer than the previous year. This represents a 4% decrease in the homicide rate from 1.82 homicides per 100,000 population in 2017 to 1.76 homicides per 100,000 population in 2018. The decrease in the national number of homicides was a result of notable decreases in homicide in Alberta (-38 homicides), British Columbia (-30), Quebec (-10) and Nova Scotia (-10), partly offset by a large increase in Ontario (+69).
The national rates for both firearm-related (-8%) and gang-related (-5%) homicides decreased in 2018. This marks the first decrease in firearm-related homicides since 2013 and the first decrease in gang-related homicides since 2014.
However, on a general overall trend, police-reported crime in Canada, as measured by the Crime Severity Index (CSI), increased for the fourth consecutive year in 2018. The CSI increased 2% from 73.6 in 2017 to 75.0 in 2018, but the index was 17% lower in 2018 than a decade earlier in 2008. The CSI measures the volume and severity of police-reported crime in Canada, and it has a base index value of 100 for 2006.
Fraud, Sexual Assault and Shoplifting on rise
The change in the CSI in 2018 was the result of increases in police-reported rates of numerous offences, most notably fraud (+13%), sexual assault (level 1) (+15%), as well as shoplifting of $5,000 or under (+14%), and theft over $5,000 (+15%). A 1% decline in the rate of breaking and entering, among other offences, mitigated the impact of these increases on the CSI.
There were over 2 million police-reported Criminal Code incidents (excluding traffic) reported by police in 2018, almost 69,800 more incidents than in 2017. At 5,488 incidents per 100,000 population, the police-reported crime rate—which measures the volume of crime—increased 2% in 2018. This rate was 17% lower than a decade earlier in 2008.
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In 2018, the overall volume and severity of violent crime, as measured by the Violent Crime Severity Index (VCSI), was 82.4, a 1% increase over 2017, but 13% lower than in 2008. The VCSI fell every year between 2007 and 2014, before increasing for four consecutive years.
Most of the increase in the VCSI in 2018 was the result of increases in the rate of police-reported sexual assault (level 1) (+15%), followed by increases in extortion (+44%). The police-reported violent crime rate, which measures the volume of violent police-reported crime, increased 3% to 1,143 incidents per 100,000 population.
What contributed to rise in VCSI were also fraud, shoplifting of $5,000 or under, and theft over $5,000. These were partially offset by a decline in breaking in and forcible entry.