The problem: Port Coquitlam, B.C., a bedroom community less than an hour outside Vancouver that’s home to about 60,000 people, has the highest murder rate in Canada. At 365 per cent over the national average, Port Coquitlam’s homicide rate is far above Edmonton’s, which comes in second at 133 per cent above the national average. It’s worth noting, too, that Port Coquitlam’s five murders in 2007 don’t include those committed by Robert Pickton, Port Coquitlam’s most notorious pig farmer and one of Canada’s most infamous serial killers.
What’s being done to deal with it: According to data compiled by Statistics Canada, Port Coquitlam’s 929 residents per police officer represented the second-highest ratio in British Columbia for a city of its size in 2007. (At 967 residents per police officer, the North Vancouver District edged it out of the top spot.) By 2008, that ratio had grown to 1,067 residents to police officers, though it still trailed North Vancouver’s 1,082. “This isn’t something that we should grow to live with or be comfortable with,” Port Coquitlam Councillor Brad West told Coquitlam Now. “It’s unacceptable to me, and I think it’s going to be unacceptable to our residents.” A spike in gang violence in the Vancouver area has already prompted nearby Coquitlam to commit an extra $700,000 in its budget to hire six more Mounties and Port Coquitlam is expected to follow suit and hire three more mounties later this year.