The 19 Most Dangerous Cities In Canada in 2024

Last Updated: April 12th, 2024

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With vibrant cultural cities, untouched wildernesses, and breathtaking natural landmarks that include Niagara Falls and Banff National Park, Canada has a long-standing reputation as being one of the most beautiful travel destinations in the world.

What’s even better is that with a Global Peace Index of 1.35, it is also the 11th safest country in the world for visitors.

However, like anywhere else, Canada is not without its problem areas, and it is essential for travelers to understand the associated safety risks that come with visiting various travel destinations.

For this reason, I have composed this list of the most dangerous cities in Canada to help you determine which areas to practice a higher degree of caution in or to avoid altogether.

To create this list, I have used Numbeo’s updated crime index levels as a guideline, which takes into account the presence of specific crimes, their associated safety risks, and the general perception of crime levels from first-hand accounts.

The Canada Crime Severity Index, Statistics Canada, AreaVibes, local news outlets, and personal experience living in Canada have also been used to confirm overall danger levels as well as collect up-to-date crime statistics for each destination.

The 19 Most Dangerous Cities In Canada

1. North Battleford, Saskatchewan

Crime Index: 90.56

A-Factory-Building-At-Saskatchewan-Canada

Deemed the Crime Capital of Canada, North Battleford tops the list of the country’s most dangerous cities. However, it is important to note that its crime index of 90.56 is a bit of a mischaracterization, as while petty crime is rampant, violent crimes are much less frequent.

Despite its reputation, the city is still much safer than other cities with a lower crime index in other countries, such as Mexico’s Ciudad Obregon, which boasts a crime index of 86.54.

Instead, North Battleford’s high crime index can largely be attributed to the small Saskatchewan community’s low population levels. With a population of just under 14,000 people and approximately 28,513 incidents of crime per 100,000 people, North Battleford boasts a crime rate that is about 575% above the national average.

The majority of the city’s crimes are property-related offenses or petty misdemeanors. However, homicide rates have been increasing in recent years. Opioid use has also increased in the city, along with death rates associated with drug use.

2. Timmins, Ontario

Crime Index: 74.01

The-Panoramic-Lake-View-Of-Timmins-Ontario

Coming in as Canada’s second most dangerous city, Timmins’ crime index of 74.01 means that the Ontario community is still much safer than North Battleford.

Still, the city has earned its reputation as being one of the most dangerous areas in Canada, with a crime rate exceeding 96% higher than the national average, including a violent crime rate of 104% above the national average.

With a population of just over 40,000 people and about 8,300 incidents of crime per 100,000 residents, Timmins hosts more than 3,300 crimes a year on average. While the majority of these incidents are property crimes, with a notable uptake in breaks ins in recent years, about a quarter of all crimes in the city are violent, including homicides and sexual assaults.

3. Thunder Bay, Ontario

Crime Index: 64.71

The-Hotel-Building-At-Thunder-Bay-Ontario

Boasting a population of 110,000 people along the shores of Lake Superior in Northwestern Ontario, Thunder Bay boasts much lower crime rates than both North Battleford and Timmins but is nonetheless the third most dangerous city in Canada, with a crime index of 64.71.

In 2022, Thunder Bay featured a crime rate of 5,842 incidents per 100,000 people. And while this number is 5% lower than the city’s crime rates for the previous year, it is still higher than the national average and about 29% higher than the provincial average of 4,151.

Despite the decrease in the city’s crime rate, Thunder Bay’s crime severity index has stayed predominately the same. This can largely be attributed to the growing illicit drug trade and gang activity driving an increase in violent crime rates, with 15 homicides in 2022 and a homicide rate five times higher than the national average.

4. Surrey, British Columbia

Crime Index: 64.14

Train-Bridge-Linking-Surrey-British-Columbia

With a crime index of 64.14, Surrey is the most dangerous city in British Columbia. While this entry may come as a surprise to people visiting the city a few years ago, Surrey has experienced a steep increase in both property and violent crimes in the past three years to earn it its spot on this list of the most dangerous cities in Canada.

One of the most notable factors contributing to the city’s crime increase is the prevalence of gang-related activity and violence that has plagued the community in recent years, which has led to increases in both homicides and shootings.

Throughout the first three quarters of 2023, Surrey experienced a total of 5,016 violent crimes, 12 of which were homicides. As such, the city features a violent crime rate exceeding 1,000 incidents per 100,000 people when relating this to Surrey’s population of over 500,000 residents.

Meanwhile, property crimes in the city are much more prevalent, with approximately 15,328 offenses recorded in the same time period, resulting in a property crime rate of over 4,000 incidents per 100,000 people.

5. Red Deer, Alberta

Crime Index: 62.88

A-Court-House-Of-Red-Deer-Alberta

The first city in Alberta to make this list of Canada’s most dangerous cities, Red Deer is located near the halfway point between Edmonton and Calgary and has become a hotbed for criminal activities within the province.

While homicide rates are low in the city, Red Deer has earned its reputation as one of the country’s most dangerous destinations thanks to its high levels of violent assaults and gun crimes largely associated with gang activity and drug trafficking.

Crime in Red Deer as a whole has seen a steady decline since 2017, with the city taking an active role in addressing the issue at its roots. Compared to the previous year, crimes in 2023 have largely seen a reduction across the board, with most notable improvements to the city’s property crimes and motor vehicle thefts.

With that said, Red Deer is still one of the most dangerous areas in Canada, and a degree of caution is advised when visiting, particularly in the downtown and South Hill areas.

6. Lethbridge, Alberta

Crime Index: 62.25

A-City-Hall-Of-Lethbridge-Alberta

Another Alberta city making this list of the most dangerous cities in Canada, Lethbridge has seen a significant uptick in its safety levels in recent years, with its Crime Severity Index receiving a notable 10% improvement in 2022 compared to the previous year.

However, this improvement is largely attributed to a reduction in property crime, whereas the city experienced a slight increase in violent crimes. According to the most recent community statistics announced in 2020, Lethbridge experiences a total crime rate of 9,869 incidents per 100,000 people, with violent crime making up only 1,902.

With a population of just under 100,000 people, Lethbridge’s total crime rate is about 134% higher than the national average and about 54% higher than the provincial average.

Lethbridge’s high crime rates are largely associated with drug use, with the city boasting the highest opioid-related offenses in 2021, with about 124 incidents per 100,000 people. For comparison, the national average of these offenses was 73.7 while the provincial average was 101.4.

7. Kelowna, British Columbia

Crime Index: 61.57

Spirit-Of-Sail-Kelowna-British-Columbia

Set in the picturesque Okanagan Valley and surrounded by mountains, lakes, and rolling vineyards, Kelowna is one of the most beautiful destinations in Canada, attracting nearly two million visitors every year.

However, despite its popularity, the renowned tourist destination is actually one of the most dangerous cities in Canada and even competes with Surrey as the most dangerous city in British Columbia.

Despite having a lower total crime index than Surrey, Kelowna boasts a higher crime severity index, with an index of  150.7 compared to Surrey’s 98.8. The most prominent reason for this dangerous reputation is the city’s exceedingly high crime rate of 10,532 crimes per 100,000 people.

The majority of incidents driving these high numbers are property crimes, including motor vehicle theft, shoplifting, fraud, break and enter, and theft, with Kelowna ranking 2nd among Canada’s CMAs for property crimes.

However, it also ranks 9th in violent crimes, with homicides and firearm offenses both being up across the province.

8. Sudbury, Ontario

Crime Index: 60.46

Nickel-Monument-In-Sudbury-Ontario

Coming in as the eighth most dangerous city in Canada, Sudbury features a relatively low crime rate of about 4,516 incidents per 100,000 people. However, while non-violent crimes, such as home break-ins and vehicle thefts, have experienced a steady decline since 2020, acts of violent crime are on the rise, including a record-setting 12 homicides recorded in 2022.

In fact, with a nearly 7% increase over the following year, Sudbury’s Violent Crime Index is more than double its Non-Violent Crime Index, with violent crimes continuing to increase in response to guns, gangs, and the growing presence of drugs in the community.

Fortunately, most of the city’s violent crimes occur between victims and offenders known to them and rarely involve strangers. While the likelihood of one of these incidents involving someone passing through the area is low, it is not nonexistent, and people should still practice caution when visiting the city.

9. Winnipeg, Manitoba

Crime Index: 60.13

A-Night-View-Of-Winnipeg-City-Manitoba

Quickly climbing its way up the list of the most dangerous cities in Canada, Winnipeg is experiencing one of the biggest uptakes of crime compared to other cities in the country, with a notable 20% increase in both violent and non-violent crimes.

In terms of violent crimes, Winnipeg is experiencing its highest levels in 13 years, including a record number of homicides, with 53 incidents occurring in 2022. Meanwhile, further acts of assault using a knife have experienced an 11.7% increase, while the use of bear spray as a weapon has nearly doubled since 2019.

To make matters worse, about 45% of these violent crimes occurred between strangers, while 30 percent of the city’s homicides involved firearms.

Along with its increase in violent crimes, property crimes in the city are up 32% since 2021, with a total crime rate of 9,607 incidents per 100,000 people. And if the city doesn’t curb its rising crime levels soon, you may just find this entry climbing even higher on this list of the country’s most dangerous cities in the near future.

10. Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

Crime Index: 60.03

Sault-Ste-Marie-Ontario

Despite boasting a 9.6% decrease in its Crime Severity Index, Sault Ste. Marie is still one of the most dangerous cities in Canada, thanks to its high prevalence of violent crimes. In fact, in 2022 alone, Sault Ste. Marie experienced four murders, four attempted murders, and 36 incidents of arson.

Since 2021, the city has experienced a notable increase in its homicide rates, robberies, and thefts, including automobile theft. Meanwhile, 26.1 points lower on the Crime Severity Index than violent crimes, property crimes are still common and growing in the city.

What’s more, these numbers are continuing to increase on top of the city’s already high total crime rate of 6,067 incidents per 100,000 people as reported in 2020, a number that was already 44% higher than the national average at the time.

11. Oshawa, Ontario

Crime Index: 59.34

A-Beautifull-Home-At-Oshawa-Ontario

With a Crime Index of 59.34, Oshawa is the eleventh most dangerous city in Canada. Despite this, Oshawa is one of the most culturally rich cities in the country and poses a moderate risk for visiting tourists.

In fact, with a crime rate of only 2,263 incidents per 100,000 people in 2020, Oshawa has a total crime rate that is 46% lower than the national average. However, since then, Oshawa has experienced a slight increase in crime, including a 2.4% uptake within its total Crime Severity Index and a more significant 12.5% increase in its Violent Crime Severity Index.

Still, while a 1 in 45 chance of being subject to some form of crime is a moderate risk, incidents can be avoided by taking a few precautions, and Oshawa remains a great cultural city to visit.

12. Abbotsford, British Columbia

Crime Index: 57.19

Abbotsford-City-View-British-Columbia

Like Oshawa, Abbotsford features a moderate Crime Index level with a total crime rate right around the national average, at 3,903 incidents per 100,000 people as reported in 2020. But also, like Oshawa, this British Columbian city has seen a slight increase in crime in recent years, most notably within its reports of violent crimes.

According to its 2022 Crime Severity Index, Abbotsford’s total crime severity increased by 3.1%. However, this minimal increase is accompanied by a much more significant 20% increase in its violent crime severity.

Contributing to this notable increase was the occurrence of 10 homicides committed that year, a number that matched the city’s previous record recorded in 2008 and that earned Abbotsford the reputation of being the Murder Capital of Canada.

While violent crimes are on the rise, property crimes are still more prevalent in the city, with common occurrences being vandalism and theft.

13. Prince George, British Columbia

Crime Index: 56.72

The-Panoramic-City-View-Of-Prince-George

When ranking Canada’s most dangerous cities by their crime index, Prince George comes in as the 13 highest risk destination. In reality, Prince George could be listed much higher on this list. For example, if we were looking at it strictly according to Canada’s Crime Severity Index, Prince George would’ve occupied the #2 spot on this list, just behind North Battleford.

According to the most recent community reports collected in 2020, Prince George boasts a jaw-dropping crime rate of 16,005 incidents per 100,000 people. Given its population of about 74,000 people, this results in an average of 11,843 crimes committed each year.

As of the same report, Prince George’s total crime rate was 279% higher than the national average. However, most incidents are non-violent, with 310% more property crimes than the national average, accounting for 81% of all crimes in the city.

14. Kamloops, British Columbia

Crime Index: 56.17

The-Ranch-House-At-Kamloops-British-Columbia

Kamloops is another British Columbian city that would rank much higher on this list if I were to rank Canada’s dangerous destinations strictly based on their Crime Severity Index. However, since we are going off of their total Crime Index, this popular tourist hot spot comes in as the 14th most dangerous city in Canada.

In 2020, Kamloops boasted a total crime rate of 9,068 incidents per 100,000 people, putting it 115% higher than the national average. However, like Prince George, these crimes are predominantly property crimes, which account for 81% of all crimes in the city.

With that said, violent crime is still 61% higher than the national average but is not quite as high as some of the country’s more dangerous destinations. Crime severity in Kamloops has experienced a slight increase in recent years, although these, again, are predominantly led by property crimes, which experienced a 13.9% increase.

15. Brampton, Ontario

Crime Index: 55.04

An-Aerial-View-Of-Brampton-Ontario

Boasting a population of just over 600,000 people, Brampton is the 15th most dangerous city in Canada, with a total Crime Index of 55.04. The city has an estimated total crime rate of 2,958 incidents per 100,000 people, which is just about even with the Ontario provincial average and 30% lower than the national average.

Still, crime in the city seems to be on the rise, with a notable 24.8% increase in the Crime Severity Index for the Peel Region, which includes both Brampton and Mississauga. This total increase includes an even more significant 33.5% increase in the city’s reported violent crime severity.

With that said, violent crime in the city is still a fairly rare occurrence, and Brampton is still a relatively safe destination to visit.

16. Hamilton, Ontario

Crime Index: 54.95

Dundurn-Castle-Hamilton-Ontario

Located just a short drive from Brampton on the outskirts of the GTA, Hamilton boasts a fairly low crime rate, 77% under the national average. Despite this, it is still the 16th most dangerous city in Canada, thanks to its total crime index of 54.95.

This perceived risk of crime can largely be attributed to the city’s increase in property crime in recent years, along with a prevalent reputation of experiencing high levels of hate crimes, having been the 2nd worst city in Canada for hate crimes in 2015. In 2022, Hamilton police responded to a total of 174 hate occurrences, more than a 61% increase from the previous year.

Fortunately, most crime in Hamilton can be avoided by taking special precautions when visiting high-risk areas, with most of the city’s crime concentrated around the downtown area.

17. London, Ontario

Crime Index: 53.60

An-Aerial-Of-The-Budweiser-Gardens-Arena-In-London-On

Set in the heart of Southwestern Ontario between Windsor and Toronto, London is a medium-sized city of just over 400,000 people that has struggled with a fluctuating crime rate in recent years.

According to records released by Statistics Canada, the city boasted a crime rate of 5,005 incidents per 100,000 people in 2020, with property crime being three times more prevalent than violent crimes. Still, London’s violent crime rate was 23% higher than the national average, while the total crime rate was 19% higher.

Since then, crime has fluctuated in the city, with a 10.1% decrease in the Crime Severity Index in 2022 and an even more impressive 15.1% decrease in violent crime. However, with the city’s homelessness on the rise, so too are crime rates, particularly property crimes, and harassment around the downtown core.

18. Nanaimo, British Columbia

Crime Index: 52.72

Buildings-Along-The-Sea-At-Nanaimo-British-Columbia

Like many British Columbia cities featured on this list, Nanaimo would be featured much higher based on its Crime Severity Index, which, at 140.4, is the fifth highest on this list. Still with a Crime Index of 52.72, it comes in as the 18th most dangerous city in Canada.

The largest reason for this discrepancy between Crime Index and Crime Severity is that of the city’s 8,345 incidents per 100,000 people, 81% are non-violent property crimes, representing 114% more than the national average, whereas violent crime is only 48% more than the national average.

Still, these numbers are nothing to scoff at, and Nainamo’s crimes are only seeming to get worse, with a 5.8% increase in crime severity in recent years.

19. Regina, Saskatchewan

Crime Index: 52.32

A-City-Center-Building-At-Regina-Saskatchewan

The provincial capital of Saskatchewan has come a long way from having the second-highest police-reported crime rate in Canada in 2012. Still, while steps have been taken to improve the safety of the city, Regina is still the 19th most dangerous city in Canada today.

Regina boasts a total crime rate of 5,257 incidents per 100,000 people, which is about 24% higher than the current national average. Much of this crime rate is largely attributed to Regina’s intravenous drug use, which is among some of the highest rates in the country.

With that said Regina continues to improve its overall safety levels, with the city experiencing a notable 6.4% decrease in its crime severity index, including a monumental 18% decrease in its violent crime severity.

About The Author

A Canada-based freelance writer, Kurt acquired his bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Windsor. Upon graduating, Kurt left the courtside media desk behind and began venturing the globe. Throughout his journeys, Kurt enjoys partaking in slow travel and loves to explore the histories and cultures of each destination, which he shares with others through his writing.

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Picture of Kurt Norris

Kurt Norris

A Canada-based freelance writer, Kurt acquired his bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Windsor. Upon graduating, Kurt left the courtside media desk behind and began venturing the globe. Throughout his journeys, Kurt enjoys partaking in slow travel and loves to explore the histories and cultures of each destination, which he shares with others through his writing.

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