Murder capital no more

Abbotsford sheds the title it garnered in 2008 and 2009, following the release of the latest homicide figures.

The body of Jimmy Chau of Edmonton was found in a field on Farmer Road in January of this year. It's one of three homicides that occurred in Abbotsford in 2012.

Once dubbed the Murder Capital of Canada, Abbotsford continues to shed that title, according to the latest homicide figures released Tuesday by Statistics Canada.

Now, the Abbotsford-Mission census metropolitan area (CMA) is among the 10 cities with the lowest homicide rates for 2011.

As well, the area is one of only two CMAs west of Ontario that did not have a gang-related murder last year.

Abbotsford-Mission recorded one homicide in 2011, but Abbotsford Police Const. Ian MacDonald said that occurred in a local prison. This compares to four murders in 2010, 11 in 2009 and six in 2008.

The 2008 and 2009 figures sent Abbotsford to the top of the list for the most murders per 100,000 people.

Now topping the list of 34 CMAs is Winnipeg, with a rate of 5.08, followed by Halifax (4.41) and Edmonton (4.17). Abbotsford’s rate is .56, compared to its 2010 rate of 2.28.

The national average is 1.73, which is up slightly from the previous figure of 1.62. The provincial average is 1.9, compared to the 2010 rate of 1.83.

MacDonald said the drop in Abbotsford’s homicide rate can be attributed to a focused effort on reducing gang-related violence following the tragedies of 2008 and 2009.

The Abbotsford Police Department (APD) held an awareness campaign and made school presentations about the impact of gang involvement.

MacDonald said the initiatives were fully supported by the community, which was fed up with the violence that, in some cases, had been played out in city streets.

The department’s gang suppression unit was formed in early 2010, and has focused ever since on arresting key players and intercepting and impeding criminal activity.

“It’s really hard for people to do drug transactions if police are everywhere,” MacDonald said.

However, although gang-related murders and violence have dropped, gangs are still an issue in the community, he said.

The Duhre Group, named by the APD in 2010 as the prevalent gang in the city, is still active but not as strong as it once was. Other gangs are battling for dominance, which creates a risk to the community, as evidenced by recent gang-related murders throughout the Lower Mainland.

“The volatility exists here, but  we’re doing everything we can to ensure it doesn’t manifest in a violent way. But that’s always a challenge and a work in progress,” MacDonald said.

So far in 2012, there have been three murders in Abbotsford:

Ryan Saint Ange, 21, was found dead in his home on 56 Avenue on Jan. 13. Robert Van Dusen and Shayne Vauthrin, both 27, have been charged with his murder. A date for trial has not yet been set.

Jimmy Chau, 31, of Edmonton was found Feb. 18 in a field on Farmer Road in what is believed to be a gang-related murder. No suspects have been charged.

Nirmal Bains, 80, was found dead on May 5 in a farmworkers’ cabin on his family’s raspberry farm on Huntingdon Road. No suspects have been charged.

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

New group for parents of overdose victims launched by Langley mother

There is a lack of long-term resources for grieving parents

B.C. BUDGET: Fare freeze, free travel for seniors on BC Ferries

A complete fare freeze will be put into place on major routes, and fares will be rolled back on smaller routes by 15 per cent

Canadian aviation legend piloting Pitt Meadows Airport – for a little while at least

‘I love the thrill of flying,’ says 82-year-old George Miller

LETTER: Freeway expansion not the long-term solution

Letter writer Aaron Ritchie questions those pushing to four-lane the highway east of 216th Street.

VIDEO: Langley star Dallas Smith takes top hits acoustic

A Walnut Grove country music entertainer is looking for participants for an upcoming romantic video.

VIDEO: Top 10 B.C. budget highlights

The NDP is focusing on childcare, affordable housing and speeding up the elimination of MSP premiums

Canucks blow three goal lead, lose to Avalanche in overtime

Vancouver struggled on the penalty kill, as Colorado scored all five goals on the powerplay

Widow of avalanche victim sues Golden lodge operator

A woman from Alberta is suing guides, their mountain guide association and the lodge operator for negligence

BC BUDGET: NDP hope to nix court delays with $15 million cash influx

Union says funding could stop sheriffs from leaving for higher paid jobs

Cattlemen urge B.C. to prevent erosion caused during 2017 wildfire season

Other concerns are fencing restoration and repair, and a lack of feed for cattle.

Patrick Brown’s Tory leadership bid fate looms

Brown’s bid to for Tory leadership to be decided on Wednesday

Alberta shrugs off B.C. legal challenge on wine ban

The potential fine Alberta faces for violating free trade rules according to economic development minister

Yelling vulgar slur at reporter not a crime says judge

Judge rules ‘vulgar’ slur against reporter was not a public disturbance

Most Read