Homicide Rate Canada Increased Dramatically 1966 Late Essay

  • Length: 6 pages
  • Sources: 4
  • Subject: Criminal Justice
  • Type: Essay
  • Paper: #1992582

Excerpt from Essay :

homicide rate Canada increased dramatically 1966 late 1970s, Stabilized 1980s, declined early 1990s recent past. Explain, reference relevant readings.

Homicide rates in Canada during the last four decades

Homicide is a particularly delicate topic due to the controversies that can arise as a result of relating to it and it is essential for a person to first learn more about its background and present day conditions in order for him or her to be actively engaged in discussing it. In spite of the fact that the homicide rate in Canada is relatively small, it is interesting to look at its significant rise across the 1960s, its constancy during the 1970s and 1980s, and its drop during the 1990s and until the present. Although there are several theories concerning, it is probable that a decline in the number of individuals who were predisposed to commit homicide ("young males between the ages of 15 and 29" (Homicide in Canada 2)) is primarily responsible for conditions today.

In order to properly comprehend shifts in Canada's homicide rates, one would first need to thoroughly understand the concept of culpable homicide. Homicide can be understood as an act when a person causes the death of another person or hurts the respective individual with no regard to whether he or she survives the act. Even with this, someone can be convicted with homicide if he or she does not actually intend to kill an individual. As long as the person is responsible for the victim's death, he or she can be prosecuted for having committed homicide. Most killings are unintentional, as they are simply the repercussions of occurrences during which particular individual make mistakes that lead to the death of other people. To condemn a person with homicide is equivalent with claiming that the respective person has participated (directly or indirectly) in the killing of an individual. It is, however, essential to determine whether or not the suspect is guilty of these charges, as conditions in Canada were critical when capital punishment was enforced, considering that "section 21 led to the hanging of a number of men who had not actually killed, men who were not actually present during the commission of the crime" (Our Response to Homicide 2). Conditions in the contemporary society are different, considering that individuals are penalized depending on their involvement in a homicide.

Capital punishment made it impossible for individuals to effectively fight for their rights and it is likely that many people were wrongfully accused until 1976. All murders were considered capital offences and all individuals involved in them were sentenced to death before 1961. Consequent to 1976 murder was divided into two categories: first degree and second degree (Ross 187). Even with this, history demonstrates that law was not particularly important when considering fluctuation in the number of homicide convictions (EXPLAINING CHANGES IN RATES OF HOMICIDE AND SERIOUS CRIME: THE CRIME DROP OF THE 1990s AND BEYOND 1).

An intriguing fact about homicides in Canada is that they tend to move at the same rate as suicides. Conditions have been this way during the largest part of the twentieth century. Rates have been abnormally high during the 1930s, but one can attribute this rise to the fact that the economic recession greatly affected people across the country. Conditions were relatively normal during the 1950s and experienced a significant change during the 1960s. "From the late fifties both rates started to move upwards. By 1970 each had surpassed their previous highpoints in 1930" (Torrance 123). Matters seem to have stabilized during the late 1970s and the homicide rate started to fall. It is difficult to express an opinion regarding this change, but it is only safe to assume that Canadians have entered a more restrained period.

The industrial conflict of the 1960s can be considered to have induced stress into people and thus influenced them in expressing less hesitation about putting across deviant behavior. Times when communities experience an increased number of homicides can be perceived to be periods when society is experiencing an era of moral instability. Many individuals are no longer able to correctly differentiate between right and wrong as a result of the information that they are provided with and are thus predisposed to committing immoral acts.

It is very likely that territory is important when considering crime rates. The fact that western Canadian provinces have experienced significant economic and population growth during the last decades of the twentieth century destabilized these communities and influenced individuals in taking on hostile attitudes. People in these areas saw their communities go through important changes during the 1960s and 1970s. This made it difficult for them to find a personal identity and severely affected the way that some individuals perceived society. Their values had been changed and they struggled to discover a purpose for themselves. While some managed to adapt to change, others failed to do so and ended up expressing interest in committing crimes (Torrance 123).

One of the easiest ways to explain changes in homicide rates would be to consider cultural changes that occurred during the recent decades and determine whether or not they had an effect on how people behaved. Instead of taking this concept into account, the House of Commons continues to focus on punishment forms as an influential factor on homicide rates. In their attempt to control homicide levels, the authorities ignore the fact that punishment is not always effective when considering its ability to act as a crime deterrent. A simple comparison between Canada and the U.S. demonstrates that incarceration rates are not directly proportional to homicide rates. This demonstrates that "rates of incarceration had little to do with the relatively dramatic declines of the past 20 years" (EXPLAINING CHANGES IN RATES OF HOMICIDE AND SERIOUS CRIME: THE CRIME DROP OF THE 1990s AND BEYOND 2). The risk of going to jail is thus not enough to stop particular individuals from committing homicide. While these people are normally unhesitant about being incarcerated, they generally regard this threat as being unimportant when they come across circumstances during which they consider that they have to murder an individual.

Individuals in Canada have been discovered to have crime-active years during which they are very likely to commit criminal offences. The number of people between the ages of 15 and 29 was much greater during the late 1960s and across the 1970s and this was essential in determining crime levels at the time. The fact that this number has been reduced consequently reflects in the fact that homicide rates have gone down significantly. "Again, the crime drop of the 1990s and beyond is real, largely unanticipated by criminologists, and points to the relative impotence of changing punishments as critical to understanding the extent of violence that our cultures experience" (EXPLAINING CHANGES IN RATES OF HOMICIDE AND SERIOUS CRIME: THE CRIME DROP OF THE 1990s AND BEYOND 2).

One can also attribute the fact that homicide rates in Canada have been reduced from the 1980s and until the present to legislations regarding firearms. It was not until 1977 that the authorities issued a law that stated that a person would first need to obtain a Firearms Acquisition Certificate (FAC) with the purpose of acquiring a firearm. Moreover, this law claimed that some models of firearms were categorized as controlled weapons and required to be registered similar to a pistol. Pistols played an important role in the rise of homicide rates during the 1966-1975 time periods. Homicides associated with pistols were more common in comparison to homicides associated with rifles or non-firearms concepts. Something happened in 1975 and this has had a strong effect on homicide rates across the country. Conditions regarding firearms changed consequent to 1975 and homicide rates decreased gradually until 1991, when the community saw a dramatic increase in homicides associated to pistol-use. One might thus be inclined to consider that firearms have had an effect on the rise and decrease in homicide rates during the last few decades (Canadian Homicide Trends 1961-1994).

Society has experienced much change during the 1980s and 1990s and morality came to be promoted as one of the most important values. This has had an effect on how the masses think and influenced people in expressing more and more moral thoughts. As a result, it seems safe to assume that homicide rates have been reduced as a consequence of the fact that the Canadian society has experienced social and economic progress. While western communities have had a hard time coping with this change, they gradually came to accept it as a positive concept and they started to express increased interest in moral behavior as a tool to improve one's social status and self-esteem.

The Canadian society experienced a significant change during the 1960s and 1970s as a result of the fact that the Cultural Revolution made it difficult for some individuals to cope with this development. Many individuals understood concepts like liberty and self-expression wrongly and they ended up hurting…

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