Published Nov. 29, 2012. This interactive works best in Firefox, Chrome or Safari.

Where Canadian criminals go to play

  1. I am very unhappy with the McLean’s magazine’s ranking of PG as the ‘most dangerous city’ in the country.

    I moved here in 1998 and have never felt
    unsafe, even walking downtown at night. There are a number of
    down-and-outers in our city centre, but they are usually friendly, and
    are just happy to be acknowledged as you pass by.

    This city
    has its problems, but for what it is, a smaller city with a large
    responsibility for services to the many small towns and villages in the
    surrounding area, we don’t have the level of crime of southern cities
    doing the same thing. I lived in the Vancouver area for nearly 40 years
    before coming here, and can tell you I have not been unhappy about
    making the move north. People here are friendly, housing is affordable,
    services are reasonable, and major crime has not touched my life in
    nearly 15 years.

    I live in a subdivision where I could allow
    my child to play with friends down the street and not be worried about
    them, can walk the streets without being accosted, enjoy the green
    spaces and parks with my family and dog, and get anywhere in town in a
    matter of minutes.

    The major crime issues here seem to
    primarily centre on the drug trade and gangs, which to my mind is an
    imported problem from the Coast. Poverty and lack of resources in the
    outlying areas bring people with troubles to the bigger community and
    sometimes it is a struggle to help those folks to become model citizens,
    but I can only say, that I DO NOT feel afraid in this city – this was
    not the case when living or visiting in the GVRD.

    Prince
    George has its problems, potholes, bad highway conditions, crazy civic government, boom and bust
    economic cycles and all that comes with being a resource-based
    community. But it also has a big heart, lots of innovative thinkers,
    the attitude to develop great ideas like a new university and medical
    school, a northern cancer centre, to upgrade our airport to improve services and a remarkably
    generous spirit for giving back to the community. These are ideas developed from citizens of Prince George, not government.

    I chose to
    live here to employment reasons, but when I visit the Coast these days, I
    choose to stay up north for the quieter but definitely not boring life it affords
    me. I certainly prefer living ‘beyond Hope’ as we say here in the rest of BC.

    • I’ve been all over this country, and never fear to walk at night, anywhere. In Prince George, while walking to my hotel, minding my own business, I was attacked by about 15 natives and beaten to within an inch of my life. If not for a random police cruiser passing by, I would be dead. No arrests were made. From what the police told me the next day while taking my statement, such attacks are very common in your lovely city.

    • Umm Prince George wasn’t even on the list? What are You talking about? Red deer was number one.

    • It’s based on statistics. They’re not making it up.

    • It’s lovely that you feel safe, but anecdotes aren’t data.

  2. Click on the map, any city. Then read “Higher is better” Too funny! Way to go PG.

  3. Here is the thing…..the odds of you witnessing a gang style assination in a busy shopping mall or restaurant in Prince George are zero. That happened in Toronto, it happened in Vancouver but nothing like that has ever happened in Prince George.
    I don’t live there, but I would rather walk any street in Prince George at night than some streets in supposedly safe Toronto (forget about East Hastings in Vancouver). So where am I really safe?
    If you broke your crime statistics out by federal ridings you would get a much clearer perception of what “communities” are safe. Mega cities like Toronto have their stats diluted by large bedroom communities that mask real problems in their urban core.

      • What’s “average” for a Vancouverite depends on your neighbourhood. I have many friends in Kits and every one of them has had their car broken into (in many cases multiple times). It’s not even worth reporting it anymore. The Downtown East Side has the largest concentration of heroin addicts in North America. It only underscores my point that if you broke crime statistics down by federal riding, you would get a much different and more accurate picture of what places were really dangerous.

        • Average, does not consist of taking one neighbourhood, but actually is the combined average of all the neighbourhoods – hard to wrap your brain around that one I’m sure.

          Oh my, car-break ins you say! That happens in the best neighbourhoods in Ottawa, its usually little kids.

          Let me put it this way, for your brain, because you are reading Maclean’s – a magazine of ill-repute: Prince George is in general more lawless than Vancouver – are you familiar with the movie “Deliverance”?

          • I don’t actually live in Prince George and I have a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree. I won’t bother explaining my point further as your chosen retort is insults rather than any rational exchange.

          • I have 3 doctorates, guess that makes me smarter then you. Bragging about your degrees makes you look like an ass/bore/simpleton.

          • Well I’ve got 4! And I’m an astronaut!

  4. Hey,

    Just a quick word regarding Prince George. I have lived here for two years and I have never felt threatened. I commonly walk around late at night and in the early mornings due to bad sleeping habits and I have never felt any sense of danger.

    The university and facilities are top-notch and the town has a real community feel to it.

    I do not plan on moving any time soon. What a shame.

    • The “what a shame.” quote is very telling.
      It shows you know PG really has crime problems, but have a “head in the sand” strategy, saying, “well the numbers might say that, but I don’t believe it.”

      You’d better believe you are living in a city that is the butt-end of jokes from Victoria to Ottawa.

      No offense but being a young male, you aren’t exactly the most vulnerable member of the community.
      And as someone who probably attends university, I’m guessing you have never spent a half an hour or longer on a street-corner – yes, just standing there. To get a feel for what your area is really like.

      • I am a young female, who grew up in Prince George and has lived here most of her adult life. I have witnessed small acts of violence, altercations in the street, etc, etc. I have however, never been personally attacked in this city. Ever, period.
        One trip to Vancouver earned me an assault. On the street, in broad daylight. In front of other Vancouverites. In a city where people care about each other, like Prince George, what happened to me wouldn’t have happened. The one time I felt threatened by someone, a passerby was there to join up with me and scare them away.
        The reason why Prince George is so high on this list is enforcement. Our citizens report crimes against them, we try and find people guilty here because we care about the safety of our fellow citizens.
        If you care so much about bashing our wonderful community full of amazing people, why don;t you come here and make a documentary about how awful we are?
        then you can see for yourself what a lovely COMMUNITY we are.

    • This addresses an important point. The labeling of these cities as “Worst,” or “Most dangerous,” while technically accurate, is very misleading. In any given Canadian city it is extremely likely that if you walk around at night, every night, for your entire life you still wouldn’t be the victim of a violent crime.

      • yah bullshit ever been to regina? surrey? saskatoon? winnipeg? at night? people get robbed every night in these cities? and i have been robbed walking around surrey at 1am at night with 6 dudes and one of them had a knife and it wasnt nice had a black eye for 2 weeks

  5. PG was well on its way to addressing its crime problem, then last year it disbanded its RCMP Downtown Enforcement Unit, and the province allowed the Baldy Hughes Addition Treatment Centre to be gutted. Its no surprise they were number one again.

  6. The problem with this and many surveys like it is the leap from solid, verifiable statistics with which only chagrined and blathering local politicians could argue (Prince George seems always to have one in the Mayor’s office) to epithets that are not really objective. Thus the term “most dangerous” is quite a jump from the duller sounding “Crime Severity Index.” I live in Prince George and it is crime-ridden despite mayoral protestations, but to really measure dangerousness you would want to have a look at the individual types of crime and ask, “for whom is this a danger?”

    Also, I do not see in Maclean’s methodology any weighting – that is it seems to treat the 6 component crime categories (homicide, sexual assault, aggravated assault, vehicle theft, robbery plus breaking and entering) equally. There is a great deal of social-psychological research to suggest that these have very different short and long term impacts on victims’ sense of security or danger. Having some punk steal my car is a whole different matter than being killed, raped or badly beaten up.

    I see that as shorthand for this web page MacLean’s goes even further in using highly condensed and misleading epithets – it is www2 (dot) macleans(dot)ca (slash worst-cities). This further aggravates the insulting nature of the subjective terms used as titles for an otherwise objective — albeit flawed (because of the lack of weighting) — survey.

  7. I am disgusted that MacLeans would label these as “Canada’s most dangerous cities” or “worst cities” as I’m seeing in the URL. Blindly presenting a crime statistic ignores the very complex story behind each crime. Without knowing the nature of the crime, who is involved, or how they came to be that way, you are misleading the public into thinking places like Winnipeg, where I live, are dangerous places. Winnipeg is not dangerous. And it is by far not a “worst city”. You cannot assume “worst” by a crime statistic, especially without taking quality of life data into consideration, among other things. Presenting such a vapid interpretation of reality is misleading to the public, and insulting to the people that live in those places. I expect a response from MacLeans with an apology, and meaningful interpretation of the data, the facts, and the stories behind these places. Exposing the highly racialized poverty (which is a precursor to crime), and the lack of real action or leadership on these items, would be a great place to start a worthwhile story on this issue. I expect much, much more from this publication.

  8. http://www2.macleans.ca/worst-cities/
    aleast Red Deer number 1 in something……… red deer you can break a
    window with no witnesses you get hauled up in front of a judge you get
    assaulted on live video feed the victim dont even get a day in front of a
    judge.. GO TEAM RED DEER…….LAST TIME RED DEER WAS NUMBER ONE IN ANY
    THING WAS RED DEER RUSTLERS

  9. HOW THEY DO BUSINESS AT RED DEER COURTHOUSE http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWghm_tXaFo GET BETTER TREATMENT AT THE LOCAL MC RAN BOOZE CAN ,GETTING TO THE POINT WHY DIDNT YOU GO TO COURT I WAS SCARED TOO….40 PLUS MILLIONS IN UNPAIDED TRAFFIC FINES IN ALBERTA AND IN RED DEER YOU GET MUGGED PAYING ONE

  10. Red deer should be number 1….. O:

  11. Bahaha… I get a kick out of all the anti-Toronto ROCs (Rest Of the Country) using their anecdotal gobbly goop to deny the statistics. And when I say “Statistics”, I mean “Factual Data”. Good luck PG and DedRear. I know…. I know…. Toronto is not on the list because they have so much crime, they don’t bother reporting it.

    • nah, toronto is not on the list because nobody gives a shit about toronto.

  12. Nothing for Calgary? Not even pot?

    • BC is the king of canada for cannabis.

  13. it’s nice to see that the RCMP are spending so much time in BC busting people for pot possession. maybe it would be a better use of taxpayers $ to focus on violent crime?

  14. yeah right i live in calgary and none of these crimes ever happen?

  15. does the publisher of this magazine live in calgary!

  16. Wait until that dollar dies south of the border, which in turn will kill the canadian dollar too… Crime will go through the roof! Hey macleans why not do a story that is important like how much radiation has come over to canada via the jet stream from Fukushima, Japan?

  17. I am surprised that my little town, where Willie Pickton was from, made the list for impaired driving.

  18. Not surprised in the slightest that Grande Prairie is by far and away top of the list in impaired driving.
    Alcoholism and binge drinking are out of control here.
    Being drunk in public has somewhere along the line become completely average and acceptable, it’s absolutely ridiculous. If you call the police to get rid of an aggressive, potentially violent drunk, you’re going to be waiting at least 20 minutes for them to get there.

    Even the sober drivers here are horrible. If you’re not doing at least 20 above the speed limit, some hick in a pickup truck will tailgate you, and flip you off while passing you on a single lane road.

  19. The problem with these articles is the sensationalized title “most DANGEROUS cities in Canada.” In reality all the cities are quite safe and to really determine which is the most dangerous you would have to look only at the statistics for crimes which were either random attacks or where the victim did not know the perpetrator. On the other hand if the people you surround yourself with are a bunch of rowdy drunks, or you yourself are a rowdy drunk then any city can be very dangerous. Some cities have more drunks then others and they tend to be violent to one another rather then towards your regular citizen.

  20. Sault Ste Maries a sh*t hole so I am not surprised with the results. Ive lived here most of my life and seems the cops focus more on busting people with a gram or two of pot then focusing on the bigger picture ..

  21. Hmmm… I don’t get this, Red Deer is #1 for homocide? where I live in Toronto we’re at 20+ already and that’s not including GTA (Greater Toronto Area). I think this might be a little off.

  22. I have lived in PG my whole life, and for a girl, I know not to walk around the streets here alone at night. I know to watch my back if its day or night. I know to always have some sort of self defense with me at all times.. PG is NOT a good place to be. period.

  23. The impaired category should be removed it is skewed to Alberta and BC as they have the harshest laws and encompass a wider range of enforcement. This would change the whole paradigm and shift east. Bring in .05 in all provinces then it counts.

  24. I’ve lived in orangeville ont and it was really bad and its not even on the list

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