Edmonton

Edmonton homicide total for 2019 lowest in a decade

Edmonton has seen 26 homicides so far this year, the lowest annual total in a decade. 

Charges have been laid in fewer than half the cases

There have been 26 homicides so far this year in Edmonton, including the November death of Rebecca Hunter. (Craig Ryan/CBC)

Edmonton has seen 26 homicides so far this year, the lowest annual total in a decade. 

On Monday, Edmonton police designated as homicides three deaths that had been listed as suspicious.

Those three cases were: Franklin Delano Hudson , 74, who was found dead inside his house on Nov. 12; Rebecca Hunter, 35, who was found dead outside a house on Nov. 13; and Breianna Schamber, 25, who was found dead inside a house on Dec. 3. 

Charges have not been laid in any of the three cases. 

The overall clearance rate in 2019 was below average. So far, charges have been laid in 12 of the 26 homicides, or 46 per cent of the cases.

In a recent year-end interview with CBC News, the police chief said he closely watches clearance rates. He said he's not concerned, even though the typical average is around 68 per cent. 

"I'm pretty confident in our team," Dale McPhee said. "I know for the most part, maybe with the exception of the rare one, there's lots of leads. It's just a matter of making sure. It's equally important that you get the right person as it is you do it fast."

During the first four months of the year, Edmonton police refused to release the identities of five homicide victims. 

When McFee took over as chief, he launched an external review into the practice of naming homicide victims and reversed the policy. 

Since the decision was made to name homicide victims by default, all victims have been identified by police. 

"I think we've got to a better place," McFee told CBC News. "We're all on the same page and we'll continue to go that way. So I think it was a good decision."