Further murders in the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Nova Scotia in 2020 helped push the nation’s annual number of reported homicides to 743, the highest in 30 years, according to data released Thursday by Statistics Canada.
There were 56 more murders reported last year than in 2019, including 22 deaths from the worst mass shooting on record in Canada in Nova Scotia in April 2020.
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Gabriel Wortman killed 13 people in Nova Scotia on the night of April 18, 2020, and nine more the next day before police shot him down.
The mass shooting in Nova Scotia has contributed to “an unusually high number and rate of homicides for the province,” Statistics Canada said in a statement.
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Alberta’s two most populous cities, Calgary and Edmonton, saw strong increases and each contributed 15 more murders to the national tally than in 2019.
As murders increased in the year most people were forced to stay at home due to restrictions related to COVID, the Crime Severity Index, which measures volume and severity of police-reported crime in Canada fell 8%, according to the data.
There were 15 more gun-related murders in Canada last year, compared to 2019, and gang-related murders have decreased by 10% over the same period.