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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Violent Crime Stable

Violent crime involving firearms has stayed stable for a fourth consecutive year, Statistics Canada reports. Handguns accounted for about two-thirds of all violent gun crime in 2006, with police services reporting 8,100 victims of such crime, the agency said in its report released Wednesday.

While the overall rate is stable, there is a rise in the use of guns by young people, it said. "The rate of youth aged 12 to 17 accused of a firearm-related offence has risen in three of the past four years, increasing 32 per cent since 2002," the report said. Young people were mainly using them in robberies, it said. Youths seem to be using guns more than adults.

"In 2006, 1,287 young people were accused of a violent offence in which a gun was used. They accounted for 2.8 per cent of all youth accused of violence; in contrast, 1.8 per cent of adults accused of a violent offence had used a firearm," the report said.

Gun-related violent crime primarily remains a big-city problem. "Vancouver had the highest rate among all census metropolitan areas (CMAs), followed by Winnipeg and Toronto. Among youth, however, the rates of violence involving firearms were highest in Toronto and Saskatoon," it said.

The rates for the three worst cities are:

Vancouver: 45.3 violent gun-related offences per 100,000 population
Winnipeg: 43.9
Toronto: 40.4

There were 190 gun-related homicides in Canada in 2006, down 33 from 2005.

Edmonton had the highest gun-related homicide rate, followed by Abbotsford, B.C., the leader the previous four years.

"Canada's 2006 firearm homicide rate was nearly six times lower than the United States," the report said.

Violent gun crimes in Canada are treated more harshly by the courts, the study found.

"Adults convicted of a violent gun crime were sentenced, on average, to just over four years in prison, double the typical sentence length of those convicted of the same violent offence where a firearm had not been used."

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