Canada's homicide rate lowest in 45 years


A police car is parked outside a murder scene in downtown Toronto. Canada's homicide rate has fallen to a 45-year low, according to Statistics Canada.



Canada's homicide rate has hit a 45-year low.

According to Statistics Canada numbers for 2010, the homicide rate in Canada is now 1.62 for every 100,000 people — the lowest level since 1966.

In 2010 there were 554 homicides in Canada, 56 fewer than in the previous year. Canada has a population of about 34 million people. 

The country's homicide rate peaked in the 1970s and has been on the decline ever since, the Toronto Globe and Mail says.

The U.S. homicide rate for 2010 was 4.8 per 100,000 people, and has been declining since the 1990s, according to the FBI.

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Statistics Canada says this year's drop can be attributed to a significant reduction in the number of homicides in the western provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba. Vancouver, in particular, reported 25 fewer slayings last year, or a 42 percent decline.

"Homicide rates have been generally higher in the western provinces and northern territories than in the eastern part of the country for many decades," Statistics Canada says.

The city of Thunder Bay, Ontario, recorded the highest homicide rate for the second year in a row. Saskatoon and Regina had the next highest rates.

Toronto had the highest number of reported slayings last year, with 80, followed by Montreal with 49. 

Statistics Canada said firearms were involved in 32 percent of slayings last year, with stabbings at 31 percent. There has been a general decline in homicides by firearms over the last 30 years, mostly due to a drop in killings by rifles or shotguns, Statistics Canada says.

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