The Case of the Moving Icons

A few weeks ago I looked at  the Crimestat map for the North Point Douglas community, specifically the icons representing homicides.

The next day I looked at them again and although going strictly from memory, it appeared they had moved.

That caused me to “save” a few images over a period of days just to track whether or not the position of the icons was indeed altered from one day to the next.  It turned out that the problem was Crimestat’s and not mine.

The following maps, saved on different dates, are for the North Point Douglas community.  They clearly show that the cluster of 6 homicides are not stationary.  As you will note, the icons change location from day-to-day.

Map. 1  (November 28 2011)

Map 2  (December 1st. 2011)

Map 3  (December 3rd. 2011)

This caused me to click on the Contact Us button on the Crimestat Website.  I sent them the following message on November 27th:  “I notice that the icons for the cluster of homicides in North Point Douglas change positions from day-to-day.  Why would that be?”   Having received no reply I sent a reminder on December 1st,  still no reply.

I’m assuming the City does not know the answer or surely they would have responded by now or perhaps it is of no consequence to them.  The fact is, though, the icons, like the victims they represent, should not be moving to the degree they are (i.e. almost into another community) because, otherwise, the map is not an accurate representation.

Is there anyone out there who has expertise with geospatial analysis software that could explain what is happening here?  Perhaps we can send a few hints on to the City to assist them in rectifying this problem.

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Homicide and Murder: Is There a Difference?

During the course of the summer and fall I received a number of email requests and personal inquiries  asking for explanations or clarification on  specific sections of the Criminal Code of Canada, legal terminology and police policy issues.  I will be running posts from time to time that address some of those questions brought forward by readers.

Today’s will be the first such post.

Question:  Quite often we hear people using the terms ‘murder’ and ‘homicide’ interchangeably.  Do they mean the same thing?

Answer:  The short answer is no.  The longer answer is this:  according to the Criminal Code of Canada (CCC) “a person commits homicide when, directly or indirectly, by any means, he causes the death of a human being”.   Homicides are categorized as either culpable, meaning blameworthy, or not culpable, meaning not blameworthy.

Non culpable homicide is not an offence.  Examples of non culpable homicide include:  persons acting in self-defence or a police officer using lethal force in a manner prescribed by law.

Culpable homicide is categorized as either murder, manslaughter or infanticide.

The Criminal Code of Canada stipulates four circumstances that constitute culpable homicide.  They are, causing the death of a human being : (a) by means of an unlawful act; (b) by criminal negligence; (c) by causing that human being, by threats or fear of violence or by deception, to do anything that causes his death; or (d) by wilfully frightening that human being, in the case of a child or sick person.

In order for a person to be charged with murder, manslaughter or infanticide there must first be a homicide, but the homicide must also be culpable or blameworthy.

Homicide that is not culpable is not an offence.