Homicide rates decreasing in the GTA

This year there have been a reported six homicides in the GTA, four of which were shootings. The latest homicide took place on Jan. 27. Forty-year-old Adrene Graham was found in a laneway behind Dufferin Mall with a gunshot wound. She was rushed to the hospital but died shortly after.

In 2011, the Toronto Police Services reported 47 homicides in the GTA. In 2010, there were 63. There has been a 25.4 per cent decrease in homicides in the area since 2008.

Although homicides are declining in numbers, it is not significant enough to see a future where the number is in the single digits.

Police work hard to prevent homicides from happening, but their main jobs are to solve cases, bring peace to the families who have lost a loved one, and try to keep something similar from happening again.

Staff Inspector Mark Saunders, who heads the homicide squad, says preventing a homicide is hard because it is out of police control. They cannot anticipate it, nor tell when this kind of crime will occur.

“When someone has died, all the steps that led up to that, we have no control over,” Saunders said. “Because of that, it’s hard for us to understand what elements may have caused that decrease [in homicide rates],” Saunders said.

Saunders and the other officers don’t have any more knowledge of why there has been a decrease than anyone else would.

“If you contacted every division and spoke with all the commanders, they will all give you a completely different answer,” Saunders said.

Their focus is to find a result after the offenses committed, not to figure out how a decrease in homicide rates has happened.

John Wright, vice president of public affairs at polling firm Ipsos-Reid, believes the decrease in crime can be linked to improved economic times. People no longer feel the need to steal and cause crimes because they can get jobs and have a source of income.

“Canada has gained back the amount of jobs that have been lost and more,” Wright said.

Although there is not one clear reason why these numbers are decreasing, it’s a positive issue to focus on.

The hard work of the police force is definitely a factor, but Saunders said the community’s assistance in investigations also aids in the result of the cases.