Saskatchewan's homicide rate is once again the highest in the country, according to new Statistics Canada data.
Saskatchewan accounted for 70 of the 788 homicides reported nationally, for a rate of 5.93 homicides per 100,000 people — the highest of all provinces and more than double the national rate, the agency reported Tuesday.
The national total was 29 more than reported in 2020, when Saskatchewan also had the highest homicide rate.
Nationally, police reported 190 Indigenous victims in 2021, the statistical agency says. While that's fewer than the previous year, the homicide rate for Indigenous peoples was about six times higher than the rate for non-Indigenous people.
LISTEN | Understanding data on high Indigenous homicide victim rates
Regina has highest homicide rate of 35 cities
In 2021, Regina recorded the highest homicide rate among 35 census metropolitan areas: 15 homicides for a homicide rate of 5.67 homicides per 100,000 people.
Thunder Bay, Ont., came next with a rate of 5.63 while Winnipeg, Man., finished at 5.39.
Regina police Chief Evan Bray said last year was "a particularly bad year," and that homicides are tough to prevent, in part due to deep-rooted social issues including addiction, mental health and intergenerational trauma.
"And so while it's concerning, it's really not an easy thing to say, 'OK, next year we're going to do X, Y and Z to prevent homicides from happening,'" Bray told CBC News on Wednesday.
"It really is about a community coming together to look at ways from a community safety and well-being perspective that we can reduce the effects that social issues have on citizens of our city. And, hopefully, through that work we reduce victimization and serious offences from occurring as well."
So far this year, Regina has recorded six homicides, including a 14-year-old boy.
While Regina placed first in homicide rate, Bray pointed out that the city ranked fifth on an index that determines the severity of crimes based on conviction rates and length of sentencing.
Bray attributed the ranking to a rise in homicides, break and enters and sexual assault. Saskatoon ranked sixth on the crime severity index, with a drop in homicides offset by a rise in child sex crimes.