By Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
OTTAWA–The RCMP is in the midst of an ambitious project gathering unsolved murder and missing-persons files from over 200 police forces dating back to 1980, says Aboriginal policing Supt. Tyler Bates.
Bates said the project will give the RCMP clear data on the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women across the country.
“That is the priority of this initiative to have that information so that we can properly guide our efforts,” said Bates, in an interview with APTN National News. “Hopefully it proves to be of benefit to the broader law enforcement community as well in terms of assessing where we need to make investments.”
Bates said the project will be completed in 2014 and some of the finding will be shared publicly.
He said the RCMP is not only looking for data to gauge investigative success or failure rates, but to also get a better sense of the social determinants that lead to Indigenous women vanishing.
“What do we need to do…when we look at the vulnerability factor, when we look at the age of the victim, when we look at the characteristics of the perpetrator, is it familiar? Is it stranger perpetrated?” said Bates. “There are a lot of broader questions that have to be answered to properly direct prevention efforts in the first place.”
The Native Women’s Association of Canada says over 600 Indigenous women are either murdered or missing across the country.
The RCMP questioned NWAC’s numbers in the past, but, until the recent project, the federal force only tallied information from within its own files.
The RCMP reviewed its files between 2006 and 2012 and concluded it had an 82 per cent solve rate on cases involving the murder of Indigenous women, said Bates.