Homicides down in Canada, stats show

(QMI Agency files)

(QMI Agency files)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:53 AM ET

Canada's homicide rate in 2012 was the lowest it's been since 1966, Statistics Canada reported Thursday.

There were 543 homicides in Canada in 2012, 55 fewer than in 2011. The rate was 1.56 victims per 100,000 people. In 1966, the rate was 1.25 victims per 100,000 people. The highest rate recorded since data collection started in 1961 was 3.03 victims per 100,000 people in 1975.

Homicide rates were highest in western and northern Canada. The rate was highest in Nunavut, at 14.84 homicides per 100,000 people, followed by 4.10 in Manitoba and 2.69 in Saskatchewan.

In cities, Toronto had the most homicides (80) and Thunder Bay, Ont., had the highest homicide rate (5.81). Five cities had no homicides: Moncton, N.B., St. John's, N.L., and the Ontario cities of Kingston, Guelph and Brantford.

The statistics also showed fatal shootings increased from 158 victims in 2011 to 172 in 2012, but remained among the lowest in almost 50 years.