Do you live in one of the most violent cities in Canada? Maclean’s uses the most recent available Statistics Canada data—in this case, from 2016—on violent crime, theft and property crime, drug-related crime, and youth crime to compile its annual list of Canada’s safest and least safe communities. See how your town compares.
Do you live in one of Canada’s most violent cities?
10. Selkirk, Manitoba
Selkirk is a town of about 11,000 people, just northeast of Winnipeg. The town is fifth in the country in per capita sexual assaults, fourth in cannabis trafficking, and second in the trafficking of other drugs.
9. Vernon, British Columbia
Vernon, a town with about 40,000 in B.C’s Okanagan Valley, has been struggling with rising crime since 2016.
According to Global News, a substantial increase in break and enters drove the increase in the crime rate last year, and the Maclean’s report places the city fifth nationally in a vacation and enters. When only violent crime is taken into account, the city ranks 29th.
8. Wetaskiwin, Alberta
Wetaskiwin is a town of about 15,000 people that lies one hour southeast of Edmonton. Although the city ranks eighth overall in Maclean’s report, it has improved on many key crime indicators, including the overall crime severity index and per capita rates of robbery, assault, and breaking.
7. Portage la Prairie, Manitoba
This Manitoba town, population 13,409, is ranked fifth in violent crime, second in cannabis trafficking, fifth in youth crime, and high rates of robbery and assault. As reported by the Winnipeg Free Press earlier this year, local officials say that Portage la Prairie shares its larger neighbour’s problems with drugs and crime
a little over an hour outside of Winnipeg. However, the crime severity and violent crime severity index for Portage la Prairie have gone down since last year.
6. Langley, British Columbia
Not far from Vancouver, this city of approximately 28,000 people is ranked fifth in the robbery, third in breaking, and fourth in the trafficking of drugs other than cocaine and cannabis. In addition, break and enters and drug-related crimes, including impaired driving, have gone up over the past year.
“The city has been putting a lot of time and money (into crime prevention), and we’re seeing changes for the positive,” Mayor Ted Schaffer told the Langley Times, adding that drug use is on the rise in the Lower Mainland city.
5. Red Deer, Alberta
According to Maclean, Alberta’s third-largest city (population 103,690) has the dubious distinction of being the most dangerous city in the province. Fifth in the overall rankings, it comes forth in a break and enters offences.
RCMP Supt. Ken Foster, commander of the Red Deer detachment, told CBC earlier this year that Red Deer “is a fantastic city” and that calling it dangerous was “not an accurate reflection” of reality. At the same time, the top cop acknowledged the city was facing challenges related to property- and drug-related crimes.
4. Williams Lake, British Columbia
Williams Lake is a town of just over 10,600 in the central Interior of British Columbia. According to Maclean, the city has the highest per capita crime rate in the province. It’s ranked fourth in violent crime, third in sexual assaults, third in a robbery, and fifth in cocaine trafficking crimes.
In 2016, a gang-related shooting forced two area schools to close for the day. Local Indigenous leaders told the Globe and Mail shortly after the shooting that gang violence and the desperation caused by poverty had brought about an escalating crime problem.
Although rates of drug-related crimes remained high in 2016, according to Maclean’s analysis, youth crime, assault, gun crime, robbery, and breaking have all fallen.
3. Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
According to Maclean’s Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, is Canada’s third most violent city. It is ranked third in violent crime, second in robbery, second in breaking, and third in youth crime.
With a population of just under 38,000, the town is an hour and a half north of Saskatoon. In December 2017 found that only 18 percent of people in Prince Albert felt “very satisfied with their safety from crime.” However, CBC specified that the statistics “should be used with caution, due to a small sample size.”
2. Thompson, Manitoba
This northern community is the most violent city in Manitoba. Maclean’s ranks it first in Canada in violent crime, first in per capita homicide (three in a population of 14,264), first in per capita assaults (total of 766), instead of in both cannabis and cocaine trafficking or production crimes, second in per capita sexual assaults, and second in youth crime.
Thompson regularly finishes at or near the top of lists of Canada’s most crime-ridden cities. Thompson mayor Dennis Fenske told the Thompson Citizen in 2017 that the town’s remote location, resource-based economy, and widespread substance abuse problems create conditions that encourage crime.
1. North Battleford, Saskatchewan
This community of 14,000, located an hour and a half north of Saskatoon, has the unflattering distinction of having the highest crime severity index rating in Canada.
It is also ranked first in firearms offences, preferably in a break. It enters first in impaired driving, first in youth crime, second in violent crime, second in an assault, fourth in sexual assault, and fourth in a robbery. North Battleford has placed highest in the crime severity index every year since the index was first published in 2009.