Canada is not known for being a dangerous place. In fact, it is one of the safest countries in the world. While the most dangerous country on Earth, Honduras, has a murder rate of 90.4 per 100,000 people, Canada has a murder rate of 1.6 per 100,000 people, among the lowest on the planet. Nonetheless, with about 500 murders per year, murders do happen in the country and it is important to be safe.

Understanding which cities are the safest in Canada can ensure you have a great visit to the country. If you are immigrating to Canada, then knowing the cities to avoid can result in you having a happy and fulfilling life in the country.

Generally, the most dangerous cities are going to be found in the prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The province with the lowest crime rate is Ontario, with Quebec coming in second.

In this article, we are going to be looking at the cities that have a crime rate that is higher than the Canadian average. All in all there are nine cities that fall into this category. 

Updated for 2017

 

Kelowna

Kelowna by Peter C

by Peter C / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

A small city in the middle of British Columbia, Kelowna actually has a very high crime rate for its size (81.8 per 100,000 inhabitants). In 2013, Kelowna had the highest crime rate out of all major cities in Canada, and it saw its crime rate increase by six percent from 2011 to 2012. Despite being a fraction of the size of the largest city in Canada, Toronto, Kelowna has a crime rate that is three times that city, while Toronto actually has the lowest crime rate of any major city in Canada, despite being so large. It should be noted though that since 2006, the crime rate of Kelowna fell by nearly 20 percent in total.

Crime Rate West Coast

Kelowna's Drug Problem Property Crime in Kelowna

 

Have Things Improved?

We originally wrote this article in spring 2015. In 2016, Macleans, ranked Kelowna among the Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities at 9th overall, falling in the Top 10 for non-violent crimes and just outside of the Top 25 for violent crimes. Kelowna also has just about the worst drug possession rate in the entire country. So no, things have not improved all that much.

 

Montreal

Montreal by |vv@ldzen|

by |vv@ldzen| / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Montreal is the only city in Quebec to have a crime rate higher than the national average. The crime rate is 87.8 per 100,000 inhabitants, and Montreal has been the murder capital of Canada a total of three times, third most in the entire country. In 2014, the crime rate of Montreal was quite high, with over 20 murders happening during that year. In all, there were 22 murders in the city that year. 

Crime Rate Quebec

Montreal vs. Boston Montreal vs. Adelaide

 

Have Things Improved?

Yes! Things have improved a little bit! In the 2016 Macleans study ranked Montreal outside of the Top 25 Most Dangerous Cities in Canada. Montreal's violent crime is still not good - Macleans ranked Montreal in the Top 20 cities with the most violent crime, but Montreal's non-violent crime rate places in just barely in the Top 50.

 

Halifax

Halifax by Brian Burke

by Brian Burke / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Located on the east coast, and the only major city east of Montreal to have a higher crime rate than the Canadian average, Halifax currently has a violent crime rate of 92.4 per 100,000 inhabitants. While not ranking at the top for murders, Halifax actually has the highest rate of gun-related violent crime out of all the major Canadian cities. In 2012, there were 56 shootings and 12 murders, which is quite high for a city of its size. 

Crime Rate Maritimes

Halifax vs. Wellington

 

Have Things Improved?

Absolutely! Halifax fell outside the Top 40 Most Dangerous Cities in Canada in Macleans' 2016 report, though they were still ranked 25th in Violent Crime Rate. It's Halifax's Non-Violent Crime Rate which has really improved, and Halifax is no longer ranked in the Top 50.

 

Vancouver

Vancouver by Colby Stopa

by Colby Stopa / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

One of the largest cities in Canada, located in British Columbia, Vancouver has a high violent crime rate and one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Canada. The Lower Eastside is often cited as the most dangerous neighborhood in North America, and Vancouver does have problems with gangs. Vancouver has been chosen twice as the murder capital of Canada, and it currently has a violent crime rate of 92.6 per 100,000 inhabitants. Of the 17 major North American cities of a similar size to Greater Vancouver (four million people), Vancouver has the third highest crime rate on the continent

Vancouver vs. LA Vancouver vs. Melbourne

 

Have Things Improved?

Not much. In Macleans' 2016 study, Vancouver was ranked in the Top 15 Most Dangerous Cities in Canada by overall Crime Severity Index, Violent Crime Rate and Non-Violent Crime Rate. Sure, that's better than it was, but Vancouver is still far less safe than many other places in Canada.

 

Edmonton

Edmonton by IQRemix

by IQRemix / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

The capital of the rich province of Alberta, Edmonton has a crime rate of 95.8 per 100,000 inhabitants. The crime rate has increased since the oil boom and a large transient population has begun to move into the city as a result. Edmonton has also been the murder capital of Canada two times in the last 34 years. In 2014, while the homicide rate of Canada was falling and reaching its lowest level in half a century, Edmonton still sat in the top five for its crime rate. 

More about Crime in Edmonton

 

Have Things Improved?

No, things have not really improved.  The 2016 Macleans study had Edmonton 10th Most Dangerous City in Canada by Crime Severity index. It was also 10th for Violent Crime Rate. Only the Non-Violent Crime Rate is a little bit, outside of the Top 10.

 

Regina

Regina by By Ccyyrree (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

by CCyyrree / Wikimedia Commons / CC0 1.0

Often making the list of most violent cities in Canada, Regina, the capital of Saskatchewan, has a crime rate of 110.1 per 100,000 people. Currently, Regina is the murder capital of Canada with a total of 26 homicides in 2013. In 2014, Regina had the highest crime and murder rate in Canada

Crime Rate Prairies

Regina's Property Crime Problem

 

Have Things Improved?

Relatively speaking, maybe? in 2016, Macleans ranked Regina as one of the Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Canada by Crime Severity index (8th most dangerous overall). All metrics were worse than Edmonton at that time.

 

Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay by Ben Babcock

by Ben Babcock / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Located in Ontario, near the Manitoba border, Thunder Bay has a violent crime rate of roughly 118.8 per 100,000 inhabitants. In 2014, Thunder Bay had the second highest crime rate in Canada after Winnipeg, with several homicides a year happening in the city, which itself does not have a large population. 

Ontario Crime Rate

 

Have Things Improved?

Yes! Things have improved! Though violent crime is still very much a problem (Thunder Bay still ranks in the Top 10 for Violent Crime Rate), Thunder Bay's Non-Violent Crime Rate has dropped considerably, so that Thunder Bay finds itself as only the 25th Most Dangerous City in Canada, which is an improvement!

 

Saskatoon

Downtown Saskatoon by Reg Natarajan

by Raja Natarajan / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Another city that often tops the lists of most dangerous cities in Canada is Saskatoon. Located in the province of Saskatchewan, it has a violent crime rate of 126.4 per 100,000 people. In 2009, Saskatoon had the highest crime rate in Canada, which was roughly 163 percent of the national average, ranking first in aggravated assault and robbery, and fourth in homicide and sexual assault. 

 

Have Things Improved?

No, things have not improved. Much like Regina, Saskatoon is still one of The Most Dangerous Cities in Canada (7th Most Dangerous). In the 2016 Macleans report, Saskatoon ranked in the Top 10 for overall Crime Severity Index, for Violent Crime and for Non-Violent Crime.

 

Winnipeg

Winnipeg by AJ Batac

by AJ Batac / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Generally considered to be the most violent city in Canada, Winnipeg has a crime rate of 145.4 crimes per 100,000 people, with an all-time high of 187 crimes per 100,000 people in 2009. Since 1981, the furthest back we can go for murder rates, Winnipeg has been listed as the Murder Capital of Canada 16 times in total, which is double of the next closest city of Ottawa, and over four times more than Montreal. 

Winnipeg's Violent Crime Problem

 

Have Things Improved?

Yes! Things have improved! In 2016, Winnipeg had one of the worst Violent Crime rates in Canada, putting it Top 5 in Macleans' report of The Most Dangerous Cities in Canada. But Winnipeg is only in the Top 20 for Crime Severity Index and 30th for Non-Violent Crime. These are big improvements for a city that has long been known as the most dangerous in the entire country.

 

As previously mentioned Canada is quite a safe country and the crime rate has continued to fall for the past several decades. In 2013, Canada reported a total of 505 murders, its lowest level since 1966. In comparison to Canada's 505 murders on 35 million people, New York City had nearly as many murders (419) but has only one-third of the population. The United States, with 10 times the population of Canada, has 2,771 percent more murders than their northern neighbours. All in all one can say that migrating or visiting Canada is not something to avoid due to crime rates.

 

The Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Canada 2016

Listed by Crime Severity Index, here are the Top 10 dangerous cities last year:

  1. Grand Prairie, AB
  2. Red Deer, AB
  3. Prince George, BC
  4. Victoria, BC
  5. Surrey, BC
  6. Chilliwack, BC
  7. Saskatoon, SK
  8. Regina, SK
  9. Kelowna, BC
  10. Edmonton

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