Homicide Survey

Glossary of terms

Accused
An accused person is someone against whom enough information exists to lay a charge in connection with a homicide incident.

Gang-related homicide
Gang-related homicides are those reported by police to occur as a consequence of activities involving an organized crime group or street gang.

Homicide
A homicide occurs when a person directly or indirectly, by any means, causes the death of a human being. Homicide is either culpable (murder, manslaughter or infanticide) or non-culpable (not an offence and, therefore, not included in the Homicide Survey). Deaths caused by criminal negligence, suicide and accidental or justifiable homicide (e.g. self-defence) are not included.

Homicide count
The homicide count reflects the number of homicide victims that become known to police and subsequently reported to the Homicide Survey in a given year. Since some homicides become known to police long after they occur, there are generally a few homicides included in a given year’s total that occurred in previous years.

Homicide rate
This technique standardizes data to permit comparisons over time and for different population sizes. The homicide rate is based on the number of victims per 100,000 population.

Incident
An incident is defined as the occurrence of one (or more) criminal offence(s) during one single, distinct event, regardless of the number of victims. If there are multiple victims or multiple accused persons, the offences must occur at the same location and at the same time if they are to be included within the same incident. The incident count will normally be lower than the victim count due to incidents involving multiple victims.

Infanticide
Infanticide occurs when a female wilfully causes the death of her newly-born child (under one year of age), if her mind is considered disturbed from the effects of giving birth or from lactation.

Manslaughter
Manslaughter is culpable homicide that is not murder or infanticide.

Murder
A murder occurs when a person intentionally, by a wilful act or omission, causes the death of another human being, or means to cause bodily harm that the person knows is likely to cause death.
First degree murder occurs when:

  • it is planned and deliberate; or
  • the victim is a person employed and acting in the course of his/her work for the preservation and maintenance of the public peace (e.g. police officer, correctional worker); or
  • the death is caused by a person committing or attempting to commit certain serious offences (e.g. treason, kidnapping, hijacking, sexual assault, robbery and arson).

Second degree murder is all murder that is not first degree.

Organized crime group
An organized crime group consists of a static or fluid group of (two or more) individuals who communicate, co-operate, and conspire within an ongoing collective or network; and has, as one of its main purposes or activities, the facilitation or commission of offences undertaken or planned to generate material benefits or financial gain.

Solved homicide
A homicide is solved when an accused person has been identified by police and the incident has been cleared either by charge (laid or recommended) or “otherwise” (e.g. death of the accused by suicide or natural causes).

Street gang
A street gang is defined as a more or less structured group of adolescents, young adults and/or adults who use intimidation and violence to commit criminal acts on a regular basis, in order to obtain power and recognition and/or control specific areas of criminal activities.

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