Edmonton's 36 homicides in 2017 not enough to call a trend, experts say

With a stabbing death earlier this week now confirmed as Edmonton's 36th homicide of the year, the number continues to inch closer to the 2016 total.

The homicide total is inching closer to the 42 cases in 2016, the highest number since 2012

Police at a crime scene in northeast Edmonton on Tuesday, where a man was found dead in a car; his death has since been ruled a homicide. (CBC)

With a stabbing death earlier this week now confirmed as Edmonton's 36th homicide of the year, the number continues to inch closer to the 2016 total.

The 42 homicides seen last year were the highest since 2012, when 30 were recorded.

The record year remains 2011, when police dealt with 48 homicide cases.

"I can almost guarantee that this is not necessarily a trend," said Sandy Jung, an associate professor of psychology at MacEwan University.
Sandra Jung, a psychology professor at MacEwan University, explains why she believes Edmonton's high murder rate in 2017 may not be a trend. 0:32

She said experts would have to study statistics from the past 10 to 15 years to determine whether Edmonton's homicide rate is a trend.

"I think what we're going to find is that there's just a lot of factors that played among each other that somehow worked this way," Jung said.

There's no way to predict how the year will end or what next year will look like, she said.

Jung said Edmonton's growing population, including the influx of people moving south after the Fort McMurray fires, as well as an increase in alcohol use may add to the crimes.

Keith Spencer, a former University of Alberta criminologist, argues Edmonton's young and single demographic is a factor in the homicide cases, as well as gangs competing for drug and prostitution business.

He said the rate doesn't necessarily make the city a more dangerous place to live for most people.

Keith Spencer, former criminologist at University of Alberta, says the murder rate doesn't make Edmonton more dangerous for most residents. (CBC)

"What we know about murder generally is that it usually is something that occurs between people who know each other," he said. "They knew the killer and they were in a relationship with that person, either in the drug business or socially or whatever."

In June, police held a press conference to discuss the number of homicides in the city, after dealing a fourth case in nine days. They insisted that Edmonton remains a safe city.

Edmonton police are investigating another suspicious death from Monday, when a man was found dead in a residence near 111th Avenue and 94th Street.