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RCMP Major Crimes unit reports 50% increase in homicides over last 5 yearsFree Access

rom 2019 to 2023, Saskatchewan RCMP Major Crimes has seen a 50% increase in the number of homicide victims. Investigators have noted that, of the individuals charged with homicide*, 44% were on conditions, bail, parole, or probation at the time the homicide was committed.

*Homicide includes first degree murder, second degree murder, and manslaughter.

“It goes without saying that a homicide is worst case scenario – but when an individual commits a homicide while on bail or release conditions, it is extremely discouraging and frustrating for our investigators,” says Officer in Charge of Major Crimes, Superintendent Joshua Graham. “In 2023, our Major Crimes unit had five instances where two to three separate homicides occurred in less than 48 hours – these clusters of homicides are alarming but no longer an anomaly. Our Major Crimes investigators continue to do an outstanding job, despite not receiving any additional investigative resources since 2008 – their dedication, resiliency, and undeniable expertise is what contributes to solving 84% of the homicides since 2015 with the ultimate goal of giving all victims’ families closure and answers.”

17,000 proactive conditions checks by Saskatchewan RCMP officers

As the provincial police service, the Saskatchewan RCMP continues to implement strategies and targeted enforcement initiatives to monitor prolific offenders released back into the communities we serve. From January to December 2023, officers conducted approximately 17,000 proactive conditions checks to ensure prolific offenders were complying by their court ordered conditions. Some court ordered conditions include, but are not limited to: abiding by curfews, not in possession of any weapons, having no contact with identified individuals, not entering certain communities, and more. On December 2, 2023, Pierceland RCMP officers located a seriously injured female during a proactive conditions check, exemplifying the importance of ongoing monitoring of violent prolific offenders.

15,800 court ordered conditions violated

From January to December 2023, RCMP officers identified more than 15,800 violated court ordered conditions in Saskatchewan RCMP jurisdiction. These violations were found through proactive conditions checks, in addition to other encounters with officers (traffic stops, responding to calls for service, etc.) – many violations result in charges for failure to comply with release order conditions under section 145(5)(a) of the Criminal Code.

Saskatchewan Serious Violent Offender Response (SVOR)

The RCMP Saskatchewan Enforcement Response Team also collaborates with front-line RCMP officers, both provincial and federal Crown prosecutors and correctional services, municipal police services, and the Canadian Mental Health Association Saskatchewan Division to help reduce potential threats posed by high-risk violent offenders in Saskatchewan through the SVOR program. The SVOR is an evidence-based approach that monitors violent offenders for the purpose of ensuring they are complying with court ordered conditions while providing coordinated services to reduce the likelihood of future reoffending – with the ultimate goal of keeping communities safe.

A hopeful way forward

On January 4, 2024, amendments are being made to the Criminal Code and current bail provisions – targeting prolific violent offenders (Bill C-48).

“I am hopeful the amended bail provisions are a step in the right direction – because at the end of the day, those individuals who are not interested in rehabilitation or changing their lifestyle, will continue to do harm to others and should not be released back into our communities,” says Saskatchewan RCMP Commanding Officer Rhonda Blackmore. “I am incredibly proud of our front-line officers and specialized units who continue to monitor, supress, and investigate these violent offenders – from ensuring individuals are complying with their release conditions, implementing initiatives to target prolific offenders, arresting those with outstanding warrants, to investigating homicides.”

The Saskatchewan RCMP is only one component of the Criminal Justice System and will continue to support all partner agencies by sharing relevant information that can be used to inform decision makers when making bail, release conditions or detention decisions.

The RCMP say the above statistics are representative of reports received within the Saskatchewan RCMP jurisdiction. They are from the RCMP records management system and are accurate as the day they are collected. Crime statistics are regularly updated due to changes in reporting procedures, changes in ongoing investigations, etc. As a result, the statistics below may differ from previous or future published reports.