This year could go down as one of the deadliest on record for Saskatoon.
A 24-year-old man, who died after being found injured in Riversdale on Saturday, became the city’s eighth homicide victim this year.
According to police, it’s the latest example of the rise in violent crimes in the city.
Right now, Saskatoon is on pace to surpass 2010 when the city saw 10 murders, which police considered an anomaly at the time.
There were seven homicides last year, eight in 2014 and four in 2013. 2011 and 2012 saw five each.
Alyson Edwards with Saskatoon police public affairs said eight homicides in the first six months of 2016 is on the “high end.”
She said the number of homicides is concerning for police, who attribute the trend to a sign of the times in the city.
Edwards noted the population and economic booms provide an attractive market for criminals.
“We have an increase in the drug trade, we have an increase in the amount of firearms because of the increase in the drug trade; therefore, you would have an increase in violent criminal activity,” she said.
The circumstances leading up to Saturday’s homicide has not been released, and no arrests have been announced.
Edwards notes not every homicide is connected to the drug and gang trade, but it contributes to overall atmosphere and environment in the city.
She said the most noticeable change officers are seeing on the street is the escalation of crimes.
“Where you would have an assault in the past, that assault is now an attempted murder or a homicide because firearms are being introduced to many of these crimes. A lot of the disputes people are having that lead to these are often fueled by addictions,” she said.
Edwards said the changing nature of crimes is more than a policing issue.
“It’s really a societal issue; it’s an issue of mental health, it’s an issue of addictions, it’s an issue of people living in poverty.”
Edwards adds that while police can’t fix it all, they work with community partners to try to address some of the issues.