Calgary records 33 homicides in 2020, marking the deadliest year since 2015

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Abercrombie will serve 6½ years after pleading guilty to a lesser charge of criminal negligence causing death.

Smith’s family said the sentence is a far cry from justice. In heart-wrenching impact statements, the victim’s mother said: “I feel I died with my son.” His father said: “I am broken emotionally. I am broken physically.”

Shirley Smith, mother of homicide victim Shane Smith, is surrounded by family and friends after she exits the Calgary Courts Centre with her husband and daughter (not pictured) on Friday, December 18, 2020. Azin Ghaffari/Postmedia
Shirley Smith, mother of homicide victim Shane Smith, is surrounded by family and friends after she exits the Calgary Courts Centre with her husband and daughter (not pictured) on Friday, December 18, 2020. Photo by Azin Ghaffari /Postmedia

Two additional homicides stand out from the past year for Chisholm, including the death in July of 69-year-old Vida Smith, whose remains also have yet to be found, and a hit-and-run in May that left 15-year-old Ibaad Yar dead.

Chisholm called the fatal hit-and-run “senseless” but could not provide additional details because the case is before the courts. At the time of the incident, police said a vehicle was struck from behind and rolled over. An altercation took place at the scene and the offenders fled. Two suspects are on trial.

“He was a beloved son, loyal brother, faithful friend,” Yar’s father said earlier this year. “Now that Ibaad is gone, he took all our joys with him. Our home and hearts are empty without him.”

The family of the victim of a fatal hit-and-run, Aasma and Ismail YAR, the sister and father of the victim are urging anyone with information about the incident to contact police as new details are being uncovered as their son/brother, Ibaad YAR, 15, was pronounced deceased at the scene in Calgary on Thursday, May 28, 2020. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia
Aasma and Ismail Yar, the sister and father of a 15-year-old fatal hit-and-run victim, speak to media on May 29, 2020. Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia Photo by Darren Makowichuk /Postmedia

There’s no saying what caused a spike in homicides in 2020, said Calgary police Chief Mark Neufeld. Police recorded a dip in 2018 and 2019, at 18 and 21, after seeing higher numbers in 2016 and 2017, with 30 and 31, respectively. In 2015, a record high of 37 homicides were tracked by police, according to Chisholm.

“The drivers have been a little hard to pick out. It’s been obviously conflicts between people who know one another, but not really a lot of trends that we can learn from or get out in front of,” said Neufeld.

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