To demonstrate the role of the Mounties, I compared settlements that in the late 1890s were near Mountie forts with those that were not. There are no homicide statistics for that period, but the 1911 census reveals male mortality patterns. Settlements far from the Mounties’ reach had more widows than widowers, suggesting unusually high adult male death rates. In fact, remote Canadian settlements during this period looked a lot like those of the Wild West. We do not know for certain why male death rates in these communities were high, but homicide is the prime suspect. After all, men kill other men more often than they kill women.
Even a century later, the violence in these areas continues. In 2014, communities at least 62 miles from former Mountie forts during their settlement had 45 percent more homicides and 55 percent more violent crimes per capita than communities closer to former forts. The distinction holds even when we take into account differences in population size and the level of urbanization. Given that the authority represented by the Mounties long ago expanded into every corner of the Canadian prairies, the persistence of this difference is surprising. Apparently in some remote and lawless areas, the Mounties arrived too late to prevent the development of a culture of violence.
Pascual Restrepo, “Canadian Violence, From the Prairie to the N.H.L.”, The New York Times (11 October 2015), SR10.