Worst Canadian Cities by Crime Rate

As any Law and Order addict knows, there are two groups that protect and represent the people, “the police who investigate crimes, and the district attorneys who prosecute the offenders.”  These are not their stories, however.

Instead, we’re here to focus on the nastier side of that story, namely, the cities where these crimes occur.  Violent crime rates are a huge factor when determining where you want to move or visit, and understandably so.  Washington D.C., Chicago and Detroit years had to fight against their public image as some of the most violent and crime-ridden areas in the United States, with notable improvements in several areas.

As the say, the first step in solving a problem is admitting you have one, so let this serve less as a list for public province shaming as a rehabilitative one.

That being said, let’s dive in and take a look at “the most violent cities in Canada,” according to the crime severity index.


5. Edmonton

Edmonton By WinterE229 WinterforceMedia (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

[Public Domain]

Edmonton has been seeing some tough times as of late—and we’re not just talking about the Oilers. (Really, how many first round draft picks are they going to get?)  Unfortunately, Edmonton’s crime rate is about as stagnant as their hockey team.  The city has had a persistent problem with violent crime, especially sex-based crimes such as sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, and sexual violations against children.  That being said, Edmonton’s overall crime index rating is “only” 103.9—lower than the others on this list.


4. Regina

Regina By Masalai at en.wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

[Public Domain]

Regina, ranks rather highly (or lowly, depending on how you look at it) when it comes to overall violent crime in Canada.  It’s been trading places with Saskatoon the past few years, checking in with a 107.9 crime index rating.  On the one hand, that’s definitely far too high, and hurts what is otherwise one of the more underrated settlement destinations in Canada.  On the other hand, however, as Regina ranks just below Saskatoon this year, the latter’s loss is the former’s gain, as it can now report a “drop” in crime, at least in that context.  Let’s hope that continues into the future, rather than the rumours of potential spikes that have been reported in the last year.


3. Saskatoon

Saskatoon By Kharmagass (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Saskatoon by Kharmagass / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

Saskatoon’s placement on this list is something of a good news/bad news situation…let’s get the latter out of the way first, so we can end this section on a good note.

To begin with, yes, with a violent crime index rating of 113.5.  The city has flipped back and forth with Regina (see above) in the overall rankings, and has sometimes even found itself at the ignominious “top” of the standings.  In the NHL, that wins you the Presidents’ Trophy.  In the war on crime, that wins you an incredible amount of scrutiny.  Thankfully, however, there are signs that Saskatoon is trying hard indeed to improve its record and reputation.  In 2013, the mayor announced that overall violent crime in Saskatoon had dropped 9%, and there are hopes that that trend can continue.


2. Thunder Bay

Thunder Bay By Vidioman (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

[Public Domain]

Thunder Bay, with a 119.2 crime index rating, lands next on our list.  While it ranks eighth in overall crime, the CBC reported that it’s the second-most violent city in Canada.  Sadly, that rating isn’t a one-off incident, either.  In 2012, the homicide rate was higher in Thunder Bay than in any other major metropolitan area in Canada.

Not exactly something you’d want to put on travel brochures.

To the city’s credit, those in power have been trying to fix the problems for some time now.  Economic issues may, again, be at fault, as “traditional” manufacturing industries are evaporating from the Thunder Bay scene, and grain subsidies and issues regarding the transportation industry have hit the city as well.  That being said, the overall unemployment rate isn’t nearly as poor as other regions in Canada. 


1. Winnipeg


[Public Domain]

Winnipeg earns the ignominious title on our list as the most violent major city in Canada, with a 122.1 rating.

That being said, while Winnipeg tops our list of the most violent cities in Canada, its place here is unique insofar as most of Winnipeg does pretty well rating-wise.  As recently as 2012, 80 of the 200+ neighborhoods in Winnipeg didn’t report one robbery.  Think about that for a moment—not one.  That’s not just impressive, it’s commendable, and worth giving Winnipeg some serious points for.  The western, eastern, and southern portions of the city are, relatively-speaking, far cleaner if not entirely squeaky clean (but then again, how many places truly are?)  Instead, crime in Winnipeg is highly concentrated in the northern portion, wherein sexual assault, rape, and other forms of violent crime are as rampant as anywhere in Canada.

What’s more, that old stereotype, of Canadians being more polite and good-natured than we loud-mouthed Yanks?  There may be some broader cultural truth to that, and Canada in general enjoys a much lower crime rate than we do here in the States, but for all of that, the notorious neighbourhoods which make up the North-Central portion of Winnipeg, from South Point Douglas to West Broadway, reported double the crime rate of Compton, California in 2012.  Compton.  As any So Cal native knows, Compton is one of the most hard-hit areas economically in California, and likewise has a reputation as one of the roughest and, yes, most violent areas not just in the Golden State, but the United States as a whole.

And North-Central Winnipeg, with half the population, has Compton beat so far as robberies are concerned…and that is something to be concerned about.  Most of Winnipeg, as stated above, ranks very low on the crime index, and the city as a whole is enjoying something of a renaissance.  Let’s hope North-Central Winnipeg can enjoy a rebirth and a new, more peaceful beginning in the future as well.


All of these locations have problems with violent crime, but all have at least some glimmer of hope—let’s hope that serves as a beacon for future improvement, lest these otherwise fine locales suffer from their distinction of being some of the most violent cities in Canada.

Worst Neighbourhoods in Toronto


City Violent Crime Severity Index
Winnipeg 122.1
Thunder Bay 119.2
Saskatoon 113.5
Regina 107.9
Edmonton 103.9
Abbotsford–Mission 90.4
Vancouver 85
St. John’s 79.6
Halifax 79
Montréal 76.1
Moncton 75.6
Canada 74.5
Calgary 72.1
Brantford 70
Kelowna 69.8
Victoria 69.1
Windsor 67.7
Saint John 65.7
Toronto 64.6
Greater Sudbury 63.9
Saguenay 61.3
Trois-Rivières 59.9
Peterborough 56.9
London 56.7
Gatineau 55.9
Hamilton 54.6
Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo 54.5
Kingston 54.5
Ottawa 53.7
Guelph 47.3
Sherbrooke 44.1
Barrie 43.8
Québec 43.1
St. Catharines–Niagara 42.2


Worst Cities by Crime Rate 2015

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