Police solved fewer murders in 2015
No patterns or trends in Edmonton killings, according to Staff Sgt. Shawna Grimes
The number of Edmonton murder cases solved in 2015 dropped significantly compared to the year before, but police say they expect more charges to be laid in the new year.
Of the 30 confirmed homicide cases detectives investigated this year, police say they were able to "clear" 58 per cent of them, meaning charges were laid or warrants were issued. That's compared to 83 per cent of the 35 homicide cases that were cleared from 2014.
Staff Sgt. Shawna Grimes, head of the homicide section, said police didn't lay charges in any 2015 murders until July.
"We knew charges were coming, but we hadn't got to that point yet," Grimes said. "That's unusual."
She said up to that point, there were few "smoking gun" cases — where the suspect was still at the scene when police arrived.
"All of those files took a lot of investigation and a lot of time," she said.
She said there are still 26 ongoing investigations that could turn out to be homicides, but haven't been confirmed.
She expects the total number of 2015 homicides to rise as police uncover new evidence, and said more charges will likely be laid.
"Homicide investigations sometimes can take months, or years," she said. "For us to go a year or more without laying charges is not uncommon."
Of the 18 homicides that were cleared, most victims knew their killers. But police saw no particular patterns in the locations or demographics of this year's murders.
"The causes for these homicides is really all over the place," she said.
Of the cases that have been cleared, 10 were drug related and three involved spouses.
One trend Grimes would like to see stopped is violence during the holidays.
"This is two years in a row where we've had some very tragic homicides happen very close to Christmas," she said.
Last year, eight people were found dead in connection to a single mass murder during the holidays.
Earlier this month, two Mac's convenience store clerks were killed in separate but connected shootings.