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Saskatchewan RCMP major crimes unit reports 50% rise in homicides since 2019

Saskatchewan RCMP’s major crimes unit officers report a 50 per cent increase in homicide investigations within the last five years.

According to a release, the data comes from 2019 to 2023, and investigators have noted that of the individuals charged with homicide, 44 per cent were on conditions, bail, parole, or probation at the time the homicide was committed.

“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,” said Sup. Joshua Graham, offficer in charge of the major crimes unit.

“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.”

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Saskatchewan RCMP say they will continue to implement strategies and targeted enforcement initiatives to monitor prolific offenders released back into the communities they serve.

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According to RCMP data, from January to December 2023, officers conducted approximately 17,000 proactive conditions checks to ensure prolific offenders were complying with their court ordered conditions.

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“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,” the release read. “On December 2, 2023, Pierceland RCMP officers located a seriously injured female during proactive conditions check, exemplifying the importance of ongoing monitoring of violent prolific offenders.”

For the year 2023, RCMP officers identified more than 15,800 violated court ordered conditions within Saskatchewan RCMP jurisdiction. Police say these violations were found through proactive conditions checks, in addition to other encounters with officers such as traffic stops and responding to calls for service. Many of those violations resulted in criminal charges for failinge to comply with release order conditions.

According to a release, 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 Saskatchewan Serious Violent Offender Response (SVOR) program 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.

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RCMP said that starting Thursday, amendments under Bill C-48 are being made to the Criminal Code and current bail provisions that target prolific violent offenders.

“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,” said Saskatchewan RCMP Commanding Officer Rhonda Blackmore.

“I am incredibly proud of our front-line officers and specialized units who continue to monitor, suppress, 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.”

&© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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