Canada’s most dangerous cities

Plus, find out who takes the safest title away from Caledon, Ont.

For the third year in a row, Prince George, B.C., leads Maclean’s annual crime ranking. Still, the news is not all bad for that city–its crime score was down from last year, when it was 114 per cent above the national average. As well, Canada’s national crime score is more than 25 per cent lower than it was a decade ago. On the flip side, Caledon, Ont., lost its crown as the safest city, a title held since the rankings began in 2008. Two murders within the area patrolled by its police force put its homicide rate 73 per cent above the national average. Nearby Wellington County took the safest title.

The rankings are based on analysis of Statistics Canada’s Crime Severity Index for the nation’s 100 largest cities and regions, along with municipal crime data for six offences: homicide, sexual assault, aggravated assault, robbery, breaking and entering, and auto theft. (The data, from 2011, is the most current comparable data on a cross-country scale. (Have a look at the full crime rankings, methodology and interactive tools here.)

Canada’s most dangerous cities

  1. All Western provinces.
    Is there something going on here?
    Guns? Religion? Conservatism? Tea Party-ism? Too far from Ottawa? Not far enough?
    Too few French speakers? Not enough Liberals? Pollution from the TAR sands? Not enough drugs? Too many? The gene pool?
    What the hell?

    • Nope, we are just downright evil.. mwahahaha

      • Surrey for example. Pretty shitty place. I expected it to be higher up. I enjoy being at the top though :)

    • Younger, more transient population with short term high paying jobs interlaced with periods of unemployment.

      • Pretty spot on. I’ve lived here my whole life, every time the oil booms the area turns to complete crap.

    • The obvious answer is that it is properly policed. Sometimes the most obvious answer is right in front of you.

      • That make no sense. Proper policing is responsible for higher murder rates? Or for higher rates of crime generally?

        For some of the listed crimes there may possibly be a higher rate of reporting because of a greater faith in the police… though given many of these cities would fall under RCMP jurisdiction, and many westerners are highly critical of the RCMP, it seems unlikely.

    • If you look at the punishments handed out in Ontario East and then the west you see a that in the East the prison time given is about twice that of the West. Novel idea, bad people in jail, lower crime rate.

      • That’s completely false, check your facts. More people in prison does NOT equal a lower crime rate, just look at our neighbours to the south.

    • I don’t think that it is any of those reasons. I just think the RCMP needs more funding.

      • I think the police out here are just glorified tax collectors, not really interested in doing any real police work. All they are interested in doing is handing out speeding tickets, or hanging out at Tim Horton’s. For all the speeding tickets I’ve gotten, I’ve NEVER had a cop knock on my door to tell me they caught the guy who broke into my garage, truck, car, my wife’s car, you name it. I’ve had bikes stolen, tools stolen, every year some punk smashes the glass in any vehicle parked outside, and they are NEVER actually brought to justice. But, oh lordy, don’t drive 5 km/hr over the limit… they’ll get ya for sure!
        And, I’ll tell ya, downtown Red Deer is a scary place to be. I wouldn’t go down there alone at night anymore. Even during the day, it’s pretty creepy.

    • You comments are intended to divide Canadians by saying us and them. I work in Fort mcmurray. The 60 percent of the workers in The Oilsands commute back and forth from their home province(Newfoundland, Ontario, Quebec,etc.)

    • What people don’t realize is a lot of people creating and contributing to the crime are from out east they come for the oil money and get caught up in the bull shit. That’s why the gangs are here selling there shit and not out east way more money and if west didn’t support the rest of the country or you guys had money it would be the same out there. Don’t kid your selfs.

    • Ralph Klein said it best. Eastern bums and scums. The wealth we have here attracts trash.

      • Actually it was Creeps and Bums… a classic.

    • Remove the Impaired driving from the formula and the East dominates. Remember we have .05 in Alberta and BC which means more numbers in our stats. And out of the six murders in Red Deer that makes them murder capital of Canada three were mouthy easterners who figured ripping some one off out here was a good idea.

      • As a Red deer resident of many,many years people cant deny where most of the serious crimes perps come from. Great comment ! I knew a girl who was murdered from here by a guy from Ontario out here selling drugs.

        • Agree. You look at almost all the crimes, they’re committed by someone from out of province or of ‘no fixed address’ (which means a transient). I know there are lots of good people that come from out East just looking for a better life, but shit, keep your trash in your own dumps, Alberta doesn’t want it. IMO, oilfield having higher hiring standards (ie no criminal records) would help a lot when these losers would realize they can’t get a job out here.

    • winnipeg was in that actually

    • Ranked by some Easterner no doubt!

  2. Prince George used to be the ideal place to raise a family when I was growing up. All that changed when a puppet gang of the HA, The Renegades, set up there. The town lost its family oriented feel and became much more hostile place full of drugs and violence. This has spiraled out of control with the various other gangs now moving in. I have friends that still live in PG and consistently tell me they would never go out to the club or downtown on the weekend for fear of being forced into a fight or being swarmed by thugs. I have been back to PG many times and have driven downtown after the bars close and I am amazed at the amount of violence on the streets any given Saturday night. I feel much safer walking around the DTES of Vancouver than downtown PG at night because the acts of violence in PG are random! Don’t kid yourself PG. Remember how the city was in the 90′s and even up to 2001 and compare it to the vibe of the city now. By the way I was born and raised in PG for 30 years.

    • Nope I lived there in the 80′s and it was bad then!!! witnessed more crime in the 80′s than I have in my entire life. We moved out 1998. So the last 15 years has yet to top all the crime I witnessed in PG

    • I couldn’t agree more. You are much safer on the streets of a big city because the sheer numbers of people statistically ensure that it is unlikely that it will be you that gets attacked. In PG, if you are the only person walking down the street, you have a huge target on you. I grew up with people in PG who would get in their cars on a Friday night looking for a lone person to ‘jump’. Not to rob them mind you, but just for the ‘thrill’ of it.

    • That sounds like what happened here in Red deer , there was a young puppet gang of the HA that took over the clubs and it got to the point that you couldn’t go out at all no matter who you are . They pick fights with anyone and everyone and because of that I know tons of people who no longer go out to those places.

    • PG is not a safe place.The crack town of Canada.Prostitutes, Thugs, Murderers and addicts. No place for a family or children. Seems like they need military police in this lost city..

      • I’m pg born and raised and a big part of the problem as I see it is all the undesirables are forced out of the other cities like Vancouver, kelowna, Edmonton and sent packing to our city. During the Vancouver Olympics homeless were given transport to northern locales so the world wouldn’t see them. They were abandoned by all of us. They turn to violence and crime to survive. Stop sending us your problems and help them. We can’t keep up.

    • I have lived in Prince George since I was 6 years old and I would have to say you are completely wrong with the amount of gangs and violence downtown. I am a business owner and due to the nature of our business we are around downtown at many venues,stores,etc day and night and have never felt unsafe. I have never been harrased by gangs or seen any voilence other than the usual Saturday night drunks after the bars close. The only way you are going to see violence or get into trouble is if you are looking for it..or your already in it! I have also known every bar owner in this town for many years and have in there establishments and again unless your looking for trouble, you have no worries. It just takes common sense and at the end of the day bad things can happen anywhere.

    • I grew up in PG and it was a great place to live. Like any city in the world, there are the places to get into trouble. I think it still is a great place to raise a family, it’s what you make of it. Go live in Whalley/Surrey for a year and you’ll beg to go back to PG. Lots of lakes, camping, skiing, hunting and a great University as well.

  3. not enough Quebec Prime Ministers

    • You do realize that the last prime minister from Quebec was 11 years ago now right? Which was Jean Chrétien who left on December 11 2003 and since then has only been from Alberta and Ontario

      • Paul Martin is Quebecois

  4. You’ll notice that the cities with the highest crime rates, going by Statscan’s “one size fits all” ratings, are consistently the smallest cities in Canada and usually under or very near the 100,000 mark .

    If there’s one assault in PG, there has to be 160 in the GTA for it to break even.

    Using the same “logic”, Prince George’s municipal government is 30 times bigger than Toronto’s. But that would be assuming that such number scale in linear fashion with population. They don’t.

    • It does seem a little odd to compare a town like Red Deer (five murders in 2011) to some of the larger cities, but when a city like Edmonton or Winnipeg has almost the same raw number of murders as Toronto despite having a fraction of the population, then that does stand out.

      • I agree. It does stand out. Does anyone realize that a large percentage of those murders and other crimes are committed by persons who have come from larger cities? Have only resided in pg or red deer for a short time?

  5. These stats represent nothing but the local police forces desire to enforce the criminal code and the degree of local tolerance, nothing more.

  6. that Surrey is on the list is no surprise: heck, all of us in BC can understand that one (you couldn’t pay me to live there…)….but charming Victoria, too…how so? (sigh…..)

    • actually surrey isnt that bad ive lived here 2 years and have only been robbed once

      • Really? You call that good? I’m 53. lived in Red Deer, Banff and now, Van Island. I’ve NEVER been robbed.

    • The numbers for “Victoria” are skewed. The stats only measure the “City of Victoria” (pop 80,000-ish) where the downtown core is located, not Greater Victoria with 13 municipalities and a total pop of 344,000. In Greater Victoria, we have: five police Depts: Victoria, PD, Oak Bay PD, Saanich PD, Central Saanich PD, and RCMP, and three 911 call centres.Are we getting the best ROI with this structure? No wonder 70% of residents polled in Greater Victoria support some form of amalgamation.

  7. What a load of crap. I live in Grande Prairie, AB, and it is by no means dangerous! I grew up in Surrey, B.C. and honestly we don’t have gangster wanna be’s playing shoot ‘em up daily here. The road conditions in winter are about the only thing dangerous in this city.

    • I also live in GP but I have to respectfully disagree with this statement. I’ve lived all over Canada and I never felt unsafe until I came here five years ago. It may feel safe if you’ve never seen or experienced what safe is, but this city is FAR from safe. As I sit here writing this there are two police cars across the street arresting a man at 2 am on a Monday night. Lets hope is gets better! :)

      • The stores by my house get robbed about once a month, cars get broken into all the time. drunk crazy people everywhere oh and dont forget about the druggies that take over I swear 80% of the population….. oh yea this is a great place lol NOT

    • I thought Halifax was bad but GP is horrible, no one cares about no one and you can do almost anything you want. plus being worked to the breaking point never helps and spoiled children being raised to do what they want doesnt help.

  8. thats not true about grandprairie its a safe place

    • This place is far from safe

  9. Prince George is safe from 9am-9pm which is why many of its hardworking residents are shocked every year when it tops this survey. When the lights go down in PG it is a dangerous place and it has been for a couple of decades at least. The more scary statistic would be the dozens of weekend assaults that are never ever reported to police. High alcohol and drug consumption and pandemic steroid usage contributes to a powder keg of violence in the bars and streets every weekend.

    • Lol what bars? Pg has 1 nightclub left and about 7 small pubs.

  10. Don’t rule out the fact that most of it is petty crime. I know for a fact that is why Grande Prairie is on there.

  11. possibly could be all you easterners coming here

    • Typical …You can keep your socialist, pro-union, redneck , assistance ridden “Left Coast” . Been here 5 years..had enough. Im going back to Toronto where its safe, and crimes like sexual assault arent treated with a slap on a wrist and a few years in “Club Fed” in Victoria. Never have i felt so unsafe. Such a huge attitude of entitlement with people here. I guess when one have never has had to work very hard(or at all) , thats what happens. The easterners arent the problem Fred.

      • This comment is insulting. Not for the petty name calling or the East is better than west attitude but the comment stating “when one has never had to work very hard (or at all)”. Get your facts straight, Fred. The reason people make so much money in the west is mostly due to the Oil & Gas Industry and it is because they work hard and do dangerous work in poor conditions, for ridiculously long hours and for days on end, so that you and everyone else can enjoy the end product…. Do you ride a bicycle everywhere you go? Do you heat your home with a wood burning fireplace? No one has any problem relishing in these comforts that are the end product of hard work, but it seems so many have a problem giving the credit that is due. They earn every bit of what they make. They’re highly paid because they deserve to be. The attitude of entitlement comes from people like you who just pull up to a gas pump to fill your car, but take for granted how much hard work was done, by people you feel to be below you, in order for you to get that gas. You’re not entitled to that gas, Fred. You get to have it because you’re lucky.

        • Sorry, this comment was directed at “Sybster”. I was so annoyed I got commenter’s names wrong. My point remains the same though.

  12. natives

    • Have you ever been to Red Deer or Grande Prairie or Surrey or any of these cities? Find something better to do than be a racist on the internet.

  13. Red Deer? Really? I live in Red Deer myself, and I feel perfectly safe here. If mcleans was talking about petty crimes, I could see that happening. But murders? You barely hear about them. What is it, something with the tar sands? Too far from Eastern Canada? This article feels like a tabloid. Do you want dangerous cities? Try Edmonton. Or Vancouver. Rant over.

    • It’s based on crime rate per capita. For a city its size, Red Deer does have a lot of crime and murders. Don’t get me wrong, I live and grew up in Red Deer, but it does have a lot of crime.

  14. Love living in Red Deer! And my friends don’t understand why I hate walking anywhere at night…

  15. I live in Surrey. I don’t feel safe in my high school… The kids here drive me crazy. Some nights I can’t sleep. I am now trying to self-teach and take online courses. This place is not my home… I miss Ontario.

  16. I live in grande prairie, and I work graveyards, and let me tell you, it’s not the same city is was 10 years ago. every single night there is another incident.
    I lived in Edmonton for 5 years, and I felt way safer walking the streets at night there than I do here. I would never dare venture out at night on foot here.
    I once had 3 thugs surround my car in a parking lot and try to break in, thank god I locked the doors in time and could peel out as they were trying to open the doors.

    Raging alcoholic primates wandering the streets at all hours, screaming at the top of their lungs is common place.
    Vehicles being broken into is a nightly occurrence.
    My brother had his lawn mower stolen right out of his back yard a couple weeks ago.
    Even last night, a sunday, there was a gigantic drunken brawl near my place of business.

    I grew up here, and I hate this city now. It’s become a drunken cesspit where the rig pigs come to binge drink and fight.
    Grande Prairie has become the lowest of the low brow cities in all of Canada.

    If you think GP is a safe city, then you come work graveyards with me for a couple weeks, and see if you still think so.

    • I grew up in red deer it is home to me but i hate it its drug infested and does have alot of murd
      ers i know mmore than a couple ppl who have been murdered And personally have been affected by the crime in the city Everyone of those crimes listed i have had happen ir happen to someone i am close to. I will walk home from the bars at night ive done it alone plenty of times and its sktechty everytime

  17. What’s up Wood Buffalo!

  18. You also have to consider that most of these statistics are per capita — that is, generally speaking things such as number of homicides per 100,000 people. It does not take into consideration the actual number of homicides in the city, only the comparison of that number to the number of residents. A city of 100,000 could have 3 homicides, but a city of 500,000 could have 6. By per capita, the first would be more dangerous — but more homicides occurred in the second city.

  19. If you measured Victoria correctly you would include from Sidney around to Sooke in the
    equation because that is what lower Vancouver Island is about. The labelling of the
    municipalities was a Gordon (oink oink) Campbell idea. We all suck on the same water
    source, when away from the island we don’t say were are from Saanich or Oak Bay, or
    Esquimalt, or Langford or Sooke. We say we are from Victoria. Surrey has had 24
    murders in 2013. I am damn sure that Greater Victoria is not even close to that.

    • yes! and I think Saanich consistently ranks one of the safest municipalities in Canada. Victoria proper is very small and pretty much only includes downtown and Fernwood which would unsurprisingly have a higher crime rating than all the surrounding residential areas.

  20. I love how we always look to blame something or someone else…the problem is the person committing the crime…man why can we never take responsiblity for our own crap!

  21. money , drugs and young people out west and they dont have provincial policing thats why crime is so high out there pretty simple to figure out people

  22. I believe a more accurate statistic would highlight how many “innocent” people are murdered by criminals and gangs.
    Take out the statistics showing criminals murdering criminals….and I wonder what you would get?
    I’m all for increased “crime rates” if they are composed mainly of gang-bangers and crooks killing each other.

  23. Take a statistics class!!!!! These are sorta accurate, but the data they are based on is squed, surrey is widely mocked for being a dump, and as it is a seperate city they made the cut, surrey is part of 24 governances that make up the gvrd, or the equivilant of the Greater Toronto Area I dare you to break up Toronto as it was before I’m certain one of the boroughs would make this list for having an outrageous crime rate. furthermore places such as Fort McMurray Fort St John Grand Prairie Red Deer Edmonton Calgary are extremely violent! these places have changed greatly in 30 years and it is the fault of what’s happening in Ottawa, keep letting everyone in, we need workers up north, finding an albertan in the oil sands is a rare thing, most are from back east or another country, so you Easterners watch out for your finger wagging essentially all your transients, lowlifes, and criminals came out here looking for work and now make more than the lawyers back there, but where do you think they’re going to go when the work runs out? Home! almost everyone I know from Ontario who has moved out here is a criminal, yes they are having a different life out here but none the less they are criminals from Ontario, and they will eventually go back home when the money runs out out here. how many criminals from BC move to the horrible weather, and dead economy in Ontario and Quebec? none! I by no means dislike any part of my country but it really irritates me to see misrepresented data and people who are all part of the same country throwing stones at each other, what happens on one end of this country impacts the other end and we need to start realizing this and stop being government pawns

    • All your rhetoric and finger pointing in the post makes me think you really don’t believe in what you wrote in your last statement. You sound hateful.

    • Your whole comment does nothing but point fingers at others which you are accusing others of doing. Your last comment lacks sincerity. You actually sound hateful towards people from Eastern Cannada.

  24. Thought that last year North Battleford, sask made the list……

  25. Nice to know there’s no crime beyond Manitoba! :)

  26. Prince George = high crime…for about 3% of the population in a certain area. It’s an incredibly beautiful city with an incredibly active arts and music culture that, because of it’s cultural heritage and diversity, remains unpretentious in nature.

  27. I’m from Ontario (moved to BC) and my boyfriend is born and raised in BC. he has worked in PG and told me countless of time he’s had people pick fights with him for absolutely nothing and he would simply name drop to have these gangsters back off.
    Saying it’s Easterners that are causing crime in the westcoast is ridiculous. There’s so much drugs in BC (the coast allows for shipments off the coast, growing higher yields, drug trafficking via Asian markets, etc) so to say the violence is a product of Easterners when it’s derived from the WestCoast is beyond ridiculous and some people are sounding very self righteous. The use of heroin in the West Coast is rampant, but i’m sure that has nothing to do with the west coast though.. must be from the East. *riiiight*

  28. Prince Goerge third year in a row..

  29. It seems to me that perhaps the cities that are in the top ten could well be the cities where the police force is acting more efficiently in catching lawbreakers. Thus making it appear to have more criminal activity. It is possible that other cities have every bit as much criminal activity. They just simply aren’t getting caught.

  30. If I asked how many new immigrants to Canada committed or was involved in these crimes would I be racist.. I think we have to look at communities and especially the new comers to Canada.

  31. If two murders in Caledon made it jump to 73% above the national average, it doesn’t seem that it takes much to actually make these numbers high. Does that mean that 4 car thefts or assaults could be a 97% rate?

  32. I moved from NB to Red Deer for the sole purpose of causing mayhem. Who didn’t, really? Albertan born goofs are all pansies.

  33. I’m most annoyed by the inconsistent listing of the cities; very visually displeasing.
    Prince George, B.C. (two letter provincial abbreviation) // Red Deer, Alta. (four letter provincial abbreviation) // Regina (no provincial abbreviation) // I understand this article is a couple years old but seriously, this is MACLEANS!

  34. I’m from BC, but am living in Ontario (out in the country, thankfully). I WOULD NOT walk the streets of Toronto, Scarborough, Whitby, Oshawa, or any number of the bigger towns out here after dark. I don’t care what anyone says..The crime rate may be higher per capita out west, but there is so much crime out here it is disgusting. Too many bloody people crowded into southern Ontario makes for a less than ideal place to live. Give me BC any day of the week, even PG!

  35. The reason why is all of the countries filth heads out west with each boom…..

  36. Seriously, Macleans …. Before you keep putting Prince George at the top of the list each year, why don’t you come and visit the city. It makes us sound like we are a bunch of crime degenerates and it is simply not like that. There are 80,000 people that call PG home. It is full of opportunity and is a wonderful place to live. A HUGE majority of us have nothing to do with crimes. I dare you to come here and write a first view piece about the so called most dangerous city in Canada. You’ll be really surprised at what is really going on here.

    • Having grown up in PG….I disagree. Huge majority nothing to do of crime, of course – that can be said of anywhere really – but it’s about crime per capita. PG is the drug capital of BC, being the gateway to northern Canada and it’s only gotten worse as the problems have escalated on the coast and in Kelowna.

  37. There is a reason why it’s all western. Cuz that’s where the money is. Oil patch Country!!!!

  38. The stats for GP are high because we have a high rate of auto thefts break and enters and assaults auto theft here is big. too many company trucks with out the chip in the keys get stolen

  39. Its oilfield towns because all the scum from out east comes out here and doesn’t respect Western Canada as their home, you don’t need a national study to figure out that most of the uneducated trash from the eastern provinces move to Alberta or Saskatchewan

  40. Surrey has 25 murders, including the beating death of a middle aged mother outside a hockey rink, and they are number 5! Come on MacLeans, get your heads out of your you-know whats! Clearly this is the most dangerous place in the country.

  41. I was born and raised in Prince George, I’m now 21 years old. I have read several comments about the night clubs being full of violence. That is simply not true, I have seen a few minor scraps outside of the one club. I have walked all through out the city at all hours even at night! Not once have I been assaulted or mugged. As long as you are not involved in crime or the drug trade your chances of feeling truly unsafe are low! Yes it’s not as safe as the rest of Canada. I can’t deny that I suppose. However it is not nearly as bad as you may think or hear. It is definitely not a bad place to raise a family, affordable, great access to education, lakes, parks and many great people.

  42. Looks like a pretty biased east coast review. As usual….

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