Gun violence in Sask. up by 47% in 2017: StatsCan

Gun violence in Saskatchewan were up 47 per cent last year, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada.

Rural crime 36% higher than urban

Gun violence was up 71 per cent in RCMP jurisdictions, while it was up 46 per cent province-wide. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Instances of gun violence went up in Saskatchewan last year, despite a drop in the overall rate of serious crimes, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada.

Gun violence was up 47 per cent in Saskatchewan in 2017, including a 71 per cent jump in areas where the RCMP have jurisdiction, such as areas without their own municipal police service. 

Rural areas had a 36 per cent higher crime rate than urban areas in the province. Meanwhile, the Crime Severity Index, a number used by Statistics Canada to characterize the amount of serious crime in an area, went down by six per cent in Saskatchewan.

Most of the increase in gun violence numbers stemmed from rural incidents. 

Overall, serious crimes in the province declined by six per cent in 2017.

In areas where the RCMP had jurisdiction, homicides were down to 22 from 35 in 2016.

Crimes were down overall in Saskatoon and Regina.

RCMP said that while the rate of gun violence in 2017 is concerning, there was a decline in the first half of 2018. RCMP did not say how much the rate declined.

Insp. John Sutherland, Battlefords RCMP Detachment Commander, said is a news release that addressing social issues is key to reducing crime rates.

"We cannot arrest our way out of these issues. We must stop the cycle of using the police to arrest and incarcerate people with addictions and mental health issues," he said. 

Corrections

  • This story initially stated the rural crime rate in Saskatchewan had increased by 36 per cent. In fact, it is 36 per cent higher that the urban crime rate.
    Jul 23, 2018 12:29 PM CT