Statistics Canada recently released its data on organized crime, and it showed that there were more murders linked to gang activity and traditional organized crime in the Greater Toronto Area last year than anywhere else in Canada.
Investigators say the new data is a boon for police as they try to figure out which criminal organizations to target. But the local homicide numbers also point to a region that’s bucking a worldwide trend as its criminal organizations clash violently in a bid for power amidst increased instability, a leading expert says.
In southern Ontario, these crime organizations are using deadly force and the numbers prove it — 36 gang-related homicides in the GTA in 2018 — a number that includes traditional Mafia, street gangs and other crime groups. That’s the same number as the year before, and the most killings of this sort seen in the region stretching back to 1991.
Montreal came in second last year with 24 murders, and Vancouver was third with 20 — though when adjusting for population, Edmonton actually recorded the highest rate of gang-related homicides with 0.98 per 100,000 people, followed by Vancouver in second and then Toronto and Montreal tied for third.
Provincially, there were 51 homicides either linked to or suspected to be linked to organized crime or street gangs in 2018, Statistics Canada says, a rate that’s been rising since 2014 and 2015. There were 21 such homicides in each of those years.
As part of the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey, Statistics Canada is now highlighting the total number of incidents police services have reported between 2016 and 2018 that have been flagged as related to organized crime.
Statistics Canada found that 34 per cent of reported human trafficking incidents in the province last year were linked to organized crime, as well as 24 per cent of all murders.
Other data reveals that other offences most likely to be related to organized crime or gangs in Canada are laundering the proceeds of crime, smuggling and trafficking tobacco, cannabis and alcohol, and conspiracy to commit murder.
Nationwide, the vast majority of gangland murders are carried out via shootings. Last year, there were also 13 stabbings, nine beatings, and two deaths attributed to smoke inhalation and burns. -CINEWS