Canada is an attractive place to visit and live in, celebrated for its beautiful nature, friendly people, and overall reputation as a safe country. However, like any nation, Canada is not without its challenges, and the crime rate can be a concerning factor.
Although Canada is making strides in becoming safer, if you are considering a visit or relocation, there are cities that have been identified as the most dangerous in Canada, based on their Crime Severity Index (CSI), and you may want to avoid them.
In this blog post, we will discuss the 10 most dangerous cities in Canada with the highest crime index, using data from the worldwide statistics database Numbeo.
Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Canada
1. Surrey, British Columbia
Nestled near Vancouver, Surrey, with a population of 518,500, was historically deemed a desirable place to live.
Despite its proximity to Vancouver and reputation for affordability, diverse educational opportunities, and a laid-back lifestyle, Surrey has experienced a concerning rise in drug-related crimes, contributing to its unofficial designation as the crime capital of Canada.
Surrey holds an overall crime index of 63.8, witnessing a surge in drug-related offences, including possession with and without intent to distribute. Residents express predominant concerns about car break-ins, thefts, and home invasions.
2. Lethbridge, Alberta
With a population just surpassing 100,000, Lethbridge earned the designation of Canadian cultural capital in 2019, emphasizing its commitment to celebrating diversity, history, and the performing arts. However, Lethbridge is grappling with a high crime index, marking it as one of Canada’s most dangerous cities.
Despite commendable efforts by the police and officials to address the opioid crisis, Lethbridge has a comprehensive crime index of 62.3. The breakdown reveals a violent crime rate of 133.8 and a nonviolent crime rate of 154.0, surpassing Alberta’s Crime Severity Index (CSI) of 101.36. Drug-related problems stemming from the pervasive opioid crisis dominate the city’s crime landscape.
It’s crucial to note that while the overall CSI has increased, it doesn’t necessarily indicate a surge in serious offences. Instead, the most prevalent crimes revolve around issues linked to the ongoing opioid crisis.
3. Red Deer, Alberta
Situated as the third most populous city in Alberta and boasting a vibrant presence of major oil companies and the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, Red Deer accommodates a population of 103,500.
However, the comprehensive crime index for Red Deer stands at 61.2, notably surpassing Alberta’s average. The breakdown reveals a crime rate of 176.4, with violent crimes at 175.7 and nonviolent crimes at 176.2, all indicative of a city facing challenges beyond the norm.
Incidents involving drug use, dealing, vandalism, and theft are prevalent, with rising reports of assault and armed robbery in more densely populated areas. Furthermore, corruption and bribery within the government add another layer of concern to the city’s safety profile.
4. Kelowna, British Columbia
Boasting a population of 222,000, Kelowna has experienced remarkable growth over the past decade, transforming into one of British Columbia’s fastest-growing urban centres.
However, Kelowna now grapples with the highest crime rate in the province and ranks fourth nationally. The most frequently reported crimes, both within and outside Kelowna’s metro area, include theft and vandalism, urging residents and visitors to remain vigilant against muggings, car thefts, and assaults.
Kelowna’s crime index is alarmingly high at 61.6, indicating a crime rate of 141.9, a violent crime rate of 124.3, and a nonviolent crime rate of 148.0.
5. Sudbury, Ontario
Formerly a prominent mining town, Sudbury has become a significant hub for business, finance, and tourism in the Ontario region. Despite being recognized as one of the best places to live in Canada, Sudbury’s crime index stands at 60.7. The city recorded the fourth-highest homicide rate in the country in 2021.
While lower-level crimes have seen a decline over the past three years, a total of 2,489 violent crimes, including aggravated assaults, armed robberies, and 12 homicides, underscore a persistent challenge. Many of these violent offences are tied to issues involving drugs and gangs, prompting a cautionary note for visitors.
6. Oshawa, Ontario
Home to 175,000 residents and known as the “automotive capital of Canada,” Oshawa is home to several automotive companies, contributing to its dynamic atmosphere. However, the city experiences relatively higher levels of vandalism and petty theft, often tied to drug use and dealing.
Oshawa’s crime index remains at 55.08, aligning with its status as one of the most vibrant cities in Canada. The city’s crime profile is characterized by crimes related to drugs, leading to issues like vandalism, petty theft, simple assault, and smash-and-grabs. For those visiting Oshawa, it’s advisable to exercise caution by avoiding the display of large sums of money or expensive jewellery.
7. Winnipeg, Manitoba
Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba, boasts a population of 753,700 and is renowned for its rich historical buildings, architectural marvels, and museums. However, amidst the cultural vibrancy, Winnipeg carries an overall crime rate of 58.9 incidents per 100,000 people, ranking second in Canada for its murder rate.
Winnipeg’s Crime Severity Index (CSI) is recorded at 70.5, falling below Manitoba’s average of 126.9, indicating that, on average, the city experiences fewer crime incidents than the rest of the province. The majority of murders can be linked to drug and gang activities with no direct threat to the general public; only common crimes such as muggings, robberies, and assaults persist in the city.
8. Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Sault Ste. Marie, situated on the border of the U.S. and Canada, near three of the Great Lakes, boasts historical sites and renowned art galleries. Ranked among the world’s top 100 cities based on a crime index of 59.2, Sault Ste. Marie grapples with issues like aggravated assault, theft, and a prevalent threat of drug-related crimes, including drug use, dealing, and vandalism.
Acting as a major U.S. entry point, the town robberies surged by 37%, reaching 111 incidents, while thefts, including automobiles, rose by 22%, totalling 2,225 in 2022. Notably, the violent crime rate is at 143.2, and the nonviolent crime rate measures 126.1.
9. Kamloops, British Columbia
Nestled in the picturesque landscape of south-central British Columbia, Kamloops is renowned for its natural beauty, outdoor recreational activities, and diverse economic landscape. However, Kamloops faces the challenge of a high crime rate. The crime index of 55.39, reflecting a city where both violent and nonviolent crimes contribute to a less-than-ideal safety profile.
Delving into the specifics, the city has a violent crime rating of 132.9 and a nonviolent crime rating of 135.9, painting a concerning picture of its safety landscape. Property crimes, in particular, have become prevalent, diminishing Kamloops’ overall perception of safety.
Home burglaries and robberies, notably within its suburbs, are Kamloops’ most frequently reported crimes. Venturing into the city exposes residents and visitors to elevated levels of drug usage, dealing, vandalism, and theft.
10. Hamilton, Ontario
Boasting trails, parks, and waterfalls, Hamilton is a haven for nature lovers, while the vibrant downtown offers a mix of museums, art galleries, shopping, and enticing restaurants.
Despite its positive attributes, the crime index for Hamilton is 54.98, with a safety index of 45.02, positioning it among the most dangerous cities in Canada. The city confronts challenges, primarily in the form of drug-related crimes, vandalism, and theft. Additionally, moderate offences like car thefts, muggings, and robberies causing grievous harm have been reported in city hubs.
What is the Most Dangerous City in Canada?
As of April 2023, Surrey holds the unsettling title of being the number one most dangerous city in Canada. This stark reality marks a significant shift from just five years ago, with a notable surge in homicides and other violent crimes in recent years. A comprehensive study conducted by the University of British Columbia attributes much of this rise in violence to the influence of criminal gang activity.
However, gang violence is not the sole contributing factor to Surrey’s escalating crime rates. Property crimes and theft have also seen a concerning uptick across the area. The prevalence of Fentanyl and opioids is identified as a driving force behind incidents such as break-ins, store thefts, and violent crimes occurring within neighbourhoods.
What City has the Highest Crime Rate in Canada?
When it comes to the highest crime rate in all of Canada, the town of Manawan in Quebec takes the lead with a staggering Crime Severity Index (CSI) of 1,714.8. However, the critical factor in understanding the gravity of this statistic lies in the town’s population size, which is merely 1,500 residents. With such a small population, each crime reported carries significantly more weight in the overall crime rate.
Red Deer in Alberta emerges as a notable contender for more perspective among cities with larger populations. Red Deer, with a population exceeding 70,000, stands out for having the highest crime rate among cities of comparable size.
Canada Crime Rate by City
Here is our list of crime ratings by cities in Canada. We have compiled them into the table below to make it easy for you to compare them side by side.
Red Deer, AB
Sault Ste. Marie, ON
Most Violent Cities in Canada
Despite their serene landscapes and small populations, Yukon and Surrey are two of the most violent cities in Canada.
While Yukon is known for its picturesque landscapes, it contends with issues such as domestic violence and property crimes despite its smaller population, whereas Surrey in British Columbia stands out as one of the most violent cities in the country.
Fueled by criminal gang activities and a surge in property crimes, Surrey faces complex issues, including drug abuse concerns.
These cities have witnessed a surge in violent crimes, largely attributed to criminal gang activities. Additionally, property crimes and theft have seen an alarming rise, fueled by issues related to drug abuse, particularly involving fentanyl and opioids.
Final Thoughts on the Most Dangerous Cities in Canada
Looking at these statistics, it’s crucial to remember that each city has its unique challenges and strengths. We can contribute to the ongoing dialogue on community safety by staying informed.
As we navigate through the complexities of city life, let’s prioritize safety and work towards building stronger, more secure communities. If you are curious to learn more about the dynamics of Canadian cities, read our insightful articles and keep yourself empowered with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions. Together, let’s build safer and thriving communities!