As Ontario’s capital, Ottawa is known for many things such as the Rideau Canal, Parliament Hill and the Royal Canadian Mint. However, one thing it probably is not widely known for is its high gun violence rate. Ottawa has previously been seen as a safe city in Ontario, yet ironically, Ottawa’s number of shooting incidents in 2016 has reached an all time high from previous years as reported in many Ottawa news.
Thus far, there have been 51 shootings as of September, keeping the Ottawa Police busy. To keep from being overwhelmed with the latest spike in gun violence, the Guns and Gangs Unit was created. The unit is a specialized task force in charge of investigating shooting incidents and assisting the crimes unit when any shooting becomes a homicide. As a testament to the growing gun violence in Ottawa, the number of officers on the guns and gangs unit staff has increased with 25 officers hired for 2016 and intend on hiring 25 more for 2017.
Shooting Incidents Mapped Out By Year
The added staff members can expect to have a number of cases to work on. Since 2010, the number of shooting incidents have more than doubled:
|Shooting Incidents in Ottawa by Year|
Source: Ottawa logs 49th shooting, matching record 2014 tally, CBC.ca
As you can see, 2014 saw a drastic rise in shootings at 49 incidents in total, which included the shooting in front of the National War Memorial and Parliament Hill which claimed the life of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and injured three other people. 2014 was the highest rate on record until this year.
Mapping Out Gun Violence in Ottawa
Though 2015 saw 3 less shootings than 2014, the intensity of shooting incidents was incomparable with a total of 11 shootings in November of 2015 alone.
Ottawa Shooting Incidents – November 2015
From the visualization above, you can see that November’s shooting incidents in 2015 were well spread out across the city with a few events that stood out:
- Early in the month on November 9, shootings involved a 16-year-old boy, shot in the back near Besserer and Chapel streets. That same day a man was shot near Merivale and Baseline roads, suffering non-life-threatening injuries.
- Three days later a 28-year-old man suffering from a gunshot wound in his torso was found near the Alexandra Bridge. On the 14th, a 41-year-old man was shot on the 300 block of Lacasse Avenue in Vanier and died in hospital.
- Four days later, on the 18th, a shot was fired at a fleeing vehicle on Debra Avenue near Meadowlands Drive East and Prince of Wales Drive. In that same area, 5 days later, shots fired at a residence on the 900 block of Debra Avenue.
The next year wasn’t any better for Ottawa with prolific shootings in 2016. These were incidents that resulted in injuries or were due to reports of shootings in residential areas, vehicles, and at locations with no specific targets. From 3 drive-by shootings in 13 hours to 2 shootings occurring in the same night two times in a single year, the gun violence in Ottawa has increased at an alarming rate.
Ottawa News Shooting Incidents 2016
The number of homicides due to gun related incidents in 2016 was equally alarming. Below, you can see a geographical overview of where homicides were the most prevalent.
Ottawa Homicide Shooting Incidents 2016
The homicides in 2016 covered a wide range of incidents, proving that gun related deaths come in all forms. For example, one death was a suicide committed by an RCMP officer in a public location, another involved an ex-boyfriend who shot and murdered his ex-girlfriend and two cousins were caught in a shooting that was aimed at another target, resulting in one victim dying on the scene. Thus, while gun violence in Ottawa continues to rise, hopefully, the growing Guns and Gangs Unit can help deter and even lower the number in 2017.
If you’ve been involved or accused of a gun-related incident, call OMQ Law for a free consultation on what your next legal step should be.