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.

 

 

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Compost separation coming to all Abbotsford apartments and businesses

Rules require separate waste and compost collection, but city must still buy containers for parks

Former Abbotsford man pleads guilty to 2018 assault in Ontario of man with autism

Parmvir Chahil, along with Jaspaul Uppal, to be sentenced in June for aggravated assault

Abbotsford Hawks Bantam C1 win in Phoenix

Hawks win Bantam division at 19th annual Presidents’ Day Invitational

Fraser Valley couple wins $500K after finding scratch-and-win while moving

  • Robert Walters and Lois Gueret of Agassiz win half a million from Scratch & Win ticket

High-risk sex offender living in Chilliwack back in court

Former mayor and residents wanted James Conway gone from residential neighbourhood two years ago

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Child in hospital following fatal crash that killed father, sibling on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

B.C. landlord can’t serve eviction notice because tenant is in jail

Homeowner baffled at arbitrator decision based on notice of hearing not being served properly

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

Most Read