MONTREAL - Of the city's 35 murders in 2012,18 were related to organized crime, according to police and that’s bad news for their solution rate.

“You've got to understand out of those 18 homicides, only two were resolved. It takes a lot of effort to resolve those homicides,” said Montreal Police Commander Ian Lafreniere.

Fewer witnesses come forward with tips in cases of underworld homicides and that applies to the five suspected Mafia hits this year. 

The most recent mob murder took place in early December when Emilio Cordileone, a former Rizzuto ally, was found dead in plain sight in an SUV.

Crime author Adrian Humphreys blames instability in the local underworld for the spike, as an increase in violence has coincided with the return of suspected mob-boss Vito Rizzuto, whose grip on power might not be what it once was.

“As soon as there is a leadership question or a leadership vacuum, as we've seen, people start to make noise, they start to vie for more power, more control, more money and that’s the sort of situation we are seeing right now, said Adrian Humphreys, organized crime reporter, for the National Post.

Of the island’s 17 non-underworld murders, 10 were related to conjugal violence.

Police would like neighbours to report violence in homes when possible, in hopes of averting such tragedies.

“When they hear something this is not normal, when they hear someone doing a threat, when they hear domestic violence they need to report it,” said Lafreniere.

The city's murder rate has remained stable in the past decade, averaging 40 a year

That's about half the total of when Steve Roberts was a homicide detective some years ago, a period that included the high-body count of Montreal's biker war years.

“We noticed the attempted murder rate was going up but the murder rate was going down. That was because of the new trauma center at the Montreal General, they saved a lot of people,” said Roberts.

Police say they will be stepping up pressure on organized crime in order to force a reduction in those murder rates.