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ICYMI: Four homicides in 2023 ‘unprecedented’ in Guelph, police chief says

New high for homicides in Guelph and a projected record number of calls for service catching the eye of police chief
20190919 Gord Cobey KA
Chief Gord Cobey of the Guelph Police Service. Kenneth Armstrong/GuelphToday file photo

This article was previously published on GuelphToday.

Four homicide investigations in one year is "unprecedented for our city," reaching a number Guelph's top cop doesn't believe we have reached before.

Guelph police chief Gord Cobey touched briefly on the quartet of investigations during the police services board meeting Thursday, as he discussed the busy year it has been for the service.

It’s the most number of homicides in a single year in Guelph since at least 2000. 

While data wasn’t immediately available for years prior, a spokesperson said police don’t believe there have ever been four in a year.

There were three homicides in both 2014 and 2020.

At least one arrest has been made in three of the four cases this year.

Homicide investigations are just the tip of the iceberg for police.

“We are projecting approximately 90,000 calls for service this year,” Cobey said. “This is the highest number on record for the city, and this has included supporting our citizens as we navigated major events, protests and very complex investigations.”

And it’s come at a cost to the service.

Cobey began his monthly report to the board acknowledging an article published Wednesday on GuelphToday, where it was reported police overtime costs are over budget by $344,000 as of the end of September.

He said almost 40,000 hours of overtime have been worked this year by officers, and is projected to hit about 50,000 by the end of the year.

The report said overtime is expected to present challenges for the remainder of the year due to staffing vacancies and a “higher than normal level major crime investigations.”

“The last several months have been very challenging, and our members have continued to work very hard supporting our citizens,” he said.

Cobey said he wants the public to remember officers are moms and dads, brothers and sisters, and have the same family responsibilities as other citizens, oftentimes missing out on occasions due to work.