Winnipeg versus Edmonton

Written by Harold McNeill on November 6th, 2011. Posted in Editorials


Killerpeg

Murder Capitals of Canada?

November 5, 2011: Tonight, CTV Global National broadcast a legthy segment about Winnipeg being the Murder Capital of Canada.  Not long ago, Edmonton was tagged with that dubious distinction in a Globe and Mail article titled, “Deadmonton”.  Each month another city, perhaps Vancouver, Surrey, Toronto, London, Montreal, etc., have been tagged wtih similar headlines.

Even little old Oak Bay, (population 18,000), where I completed my policing career, could have been tagged as Canada’s “Murder Central” when, in 2007, five people died in a murder-suicide. For well over two years following, the media disceted that tragic event from every possible angle.

While even one murder is tragic, does that particular type of death deserve the TV minutes (and hours) and Newspaper column inches, it is given? Check the following Statistics Canada “Death List for 2008 and consider your risk factors:

Cancer……………………..70,568 (Lungs, Colorectal, Breast, Pancreas, Prostate, etc.)
Cardiovascular……………69,648 (Heart Disease, Cerebriovascular, Heart Failure,  etc)
Other Disease……………40,270 (Alzheimer, Diabetes, Kidney, Liver, etc.)
Respiratory……………….20,728 (Pneumonia, Influenza, etc.)
Mental Health…………….11,535 (Dementia, Depression, Schizoprenia, Bipolar, etc.)
Accidents………………….10,234 (Transport 2,848; Non-transport 7,294)
Infectious Disease………..4,796 (TB, Whooping Cough, Hepatitis, Intestinal, etc.)
Other Medical………………3,756 (Medical Complications, Pregnancy, Congenital, etc.)
Suicide  Suffocation……….1,678
Suicide Poison……………….935
Undetermined Cause……….685
Suicide Firearms……………..518
Suicide Jumpers……………..200

Struck  by Lightening……….160 – 190 (my addition from Web Search)

Killed by Stabbing…………..183
Killed by Shooting…………..167
Killed by Clubbing…………….31
Killed by Police……………….16
Killed by Terrorist……………..0 (25 year average)
Wounded by Terrorist………..0 (25 year average)

On that list, what do you consider to be your greatest risks?  Does it include murder or terrorism? Even if you choose to place murder on your list, Winnipeg consider this – the majority of murders are committed by criminals killing criminals (often drug and gang related), or relational (family members killing family members, as in Oak Bay), along with with occasional work place and rage related cases (e.g. mental health issues) rounding out the list.

If you are not a gang member or drug dealer, nor involved in an abusive relationship, not having an extramarital affair or otherwise cheating on a signifcant other; you generally experience good employer/employee relationships and are not given to fits of rage, there is little chance of your being murdered. The remaining few, include a stranger killing stranger as might happen in a rape, kidnapping, or robbery.

It is not my intention to downplay the tragic effects murder has upon the families those hurt by crime, I am just trying put the relative danger into perspective. From the Stats Can you can see that the great majority of dangers we face have nothing to do with crime or terrorism.

To best protect yourself when travelling to Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Regina, Toronto, Montreal or any other city or town in Canada for pleasure or business purposes, consider the following; Do not smoke and if you drink, or smoke the occasional joint, do so with moderation; When on the road, make sure to spend time exercising and eating properly; When driving, do up your seatbelt and, importantly, do not talk or text on your cell phone; If you get stopped for a traffic violation, do not deliberately bait the police officer and do not try to run; But, when walking, take care to look both ways before crossing the street and when pub hopping, be discriminating with those bar hook-ups.

An untimely death attributed to your failure to take these basic precautions makes you hundreds of times more likely to suffer a premature death than being murdered or seriously hurt by a criminal action on any one of the thousands of ‘safe streets and communities’ across Canada. Is that not a neat little phrase I picked up somewhere?

Now, when traveling by air and going through Canada’s Homeland Security and made to take off your glasses, shoes, empty your pockets, open your lap top, turn on your cell phone,Road Runner remove your belt, prosthetic arm or leg; given an electronic pat down or a full body scan; have your penknife, double sharpe, packaged toothpick, water bottle, knitting needles, fingernail clipper and scissors confiscated as well as each pill bottle closely scrutinized just as you see a bearded fellow wearing a turban boarding the aircraft, please don’t get all upset and fear for your life.

Cartoon (from FB Post of Marilyn Jeffrey – Richard Wyland). The Road Runner will eventually appear in various Police Notebook stories. 

Remember, it is thousands of times more likely2 that you would have been struck by lightening3 as you walked across the airport parking lot than being killed or injured on the flight you are about to take. When was the last time you worried about being hit by a lightening in an airport parking lot?

Fear of being murdered, raped, robbed, attacked by a crazed drug addict or blown up in a terrorist attack is created almost entirely through media, business and government hype4 that has no relationship too any clear and present danger. Rather than worrying about those things you are better to use the time to create a healthy lifestyle by eating and excercising properly – it could very well add years to your life and, at the same time, make your life much more fulfilling.

Harold McNeill

1. Statistics Canada “Ways to Die” pulled from National Post article of November 5, 2011.

2. The Top 8 killers of Canadians take 231,700 lives every year, the equivalent of 1,550 Boeing 727s, each filled to a capacity of 150, dropping out of the sky. Few headlines will be given to those deaths. Imagine now that just one of those airplanes was taken down by an terrorist bomb. Our society would be shaken to the very core and the case would create headlines for decades to come. In addition, trillions would spent in preventative measures.

3. Struck by Lightening: The Curious World of Probabilities by Jeffrey S. Rosenthal (Harper Collins, 2005).

4. Daily you seen samples of media hype. For a sample of political party hype read the next post: “Politics of Fear“.

Ways to Die

National Post

Homicides in Major Cities

City Murders

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Comments

  • Harold McNeill

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Rick,
    Great to hear from you and trust all is going well. Our family members are all doing well but it must be pretty tough for a lot of people. I had once heard you were going to do some writing but never heard anything further. I would be most interested, but do you think the OB News have archives back to that time. Any link or information you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Did you keep copies? Regards, Harold

  • Rick Gonder

    April 14, 2020 |

    Hi Harold
    About 22 years ago I spent several weeks going through the OBPD archives. I wrote several stories that were published in the OB News. Feel free to use if they are of value to what you are doing.
    Keep this up, I’m enjoying it and it brings back memories.

  • Harold McNeill

    April 12, 2020 |

    Hi Susan,

    Glad you had a chance to read. I decided to update these stories by proofreading as there were several grammatical errors in many. Hopefully, many of those glaring errors have been removed.

    Many of the stories carry a considerable amount of social comment regarding the way the criminal justice system is selectively applied. Next up involves a young woman from near Cold Lake, Alberta, who was abducted by an older male from Edmonton. Her story is the story of hundreds of young men and woman who have found themselves alone and without help when being prayed upon unscrupulous predators.

    Cheers, Harold

  • Susan

    April 8, 2020 |

    Great read, Harold!…and really not surprising, sad as that may sound.
    Keep the stories coming, it is fascinating to hear them.
    Love from us out here in the “sticks”, and stay safe from this unknown predator called Covid.

  • Harold McNeill

    February 17, 2020 |

    Update:  Times Colonist, February 16, 2020, articles by Louise Dickson, She got her gun back, then she killed herself,” and,  Mounties decision to return gun to PTSD victim haunts her brother. 

    Summary: I don’t know how many read the above articles, but they contained the tragic details about young woman, Krista Carle’, who took her own life after suffering for years with PTSD. While tragedies such as this play out across Canada every week, the reason this story resonates so profoundly is that the final, tragic, conclusion took place here in Victoria. Continued in the article.

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  • Harold McNeill

    February 15, 2020 |

    Testing the comments section after changes made. Updated: February 10, 2020

    Further to the update below (February 1, 2020), I note that since the government announced a “No-Fault” insurance plan for BC, Robert Mulligan is taking a slightly different tack, suggesting that no-fault will only increase the problems by taking away the right of an injured party to sue.

    I’ve copied just one sentence from Mulligan’s longer discussion, “And I think people don’t like the idea that somebody who’s, for example, was drunk and ran into you and you become a quadriplegic is going to be treated exactly the same way you would in terms of getting benefits (go to minute 00:15:26 to see his full comment)

    Statements like this appear to be simple fear-mongering. As was the case in the past, people who commit criminal offences, as well as other forms of negligence while driving, may well lose their insurance coverage and in all likelihood would be sued by ICBC to recover costs of the claim. (Link here to Mulligan’s full conversation on CFAX radio)

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    September 18, 2019 |

    […] The Federal Conservatives and Seymour Riding Association complied but one day later those memes will be shared by every third party social media site and by thousands of supporters where the message will be taken as a statements of the fact.  Five years from now those memes will still be circulating. (Link here to background on the SNC Lavalin matter) […]