The Edmonton Police Service said overall shootings in the city increase 34 per cent in 2023 compared to the previous year.
In December, police said there were a total of 17 reported shootings. Of the 17 occurrences, 12 are believed to be targeted and 10 resulted in injuries.
“The overall rise in shootings this past year was concerning, but we are working hard to trend these numbers down in 2024,” said Staff Sgt. Eric Stewart with the gangs and guns section of the EPS organized crime branch.
Compared to December 2022, shootings in December 2023 alone were were down by 19 per cent — however, year-over-year there was a 34 per cent increase.
In 2023, the EPS recorded 221 shooting incidents, compared to 165 shootings in 2022.
The level of crime happening in public spaces like malls, where the risk of bystanders being hurt is high, was alarming in 2023.
The risk of innocent people continued to be a concern last month: police said 13 of the 17 shootings had the potential for bystanders to be harmed and in at least one case, someone was.
In early December, a man was randomly shot by a stranger outside Kingsway Mall. Back in August, there also was a targeted shooting in the parking lot of West Edmonton Mall that caused hundreds of people to be locked down inside the shopping centre.
Also last summer, two cars driving up 97 Street exchanged gunfire over several blocks in north Edmonton, putting the lives of surrounding drivers at risk.
2 cars driving up 97 Street fired 20-30 bullets between them in north Edmonton shooting
Not all of the high-profile crimes last year were random. A father and his 11-year-old son were intentionally killed in a gas station parking lot in southeast Edmonton in early November. Police said the father was a high-level gang member involved in the drug trade and had lived through previous attempts on his life.
Edmonton police said it seized 892 firearms in 2023.
Where the caliber was known, .22 caliber rifles and 9 mm handguns were the most common guns used in shootings.
In cases where shooters were identified and charged, EPS said the majority did not hold a valid possession and acquisition license.
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