With a population of 38.2 million, Canada is currently the tenth most peaceful country in the world according to the Global Peace Index of 2021, ranking just above Singapore. And it’s not too hard to see why. Thanks to its stable infrastructure and economy, political stability and wide access to healthcare, the crime rate in Canada is relatively low and it is an ideal place to live it. Not to mention it is also a global melting pot of cultures and home to people from many parts of the world.
How safe is Canada?
According to Travel Safe, the overall risk for crime in Canada is low – thanks to its focus on peacekeeping diplomacy. Widely regarded as one of the safest countries in the world, it is no wonder many students and professionals consider Canada as one of their top destinations to study, live and work in. Risk of getting pickpocketed is also low, as do with being victim to taxi and transportation scams.
The Canadian government has also reported that the number of police-reported crimes have declined during the pandemic in 2020, compared to 2019. The Crime Severity Index (CSI) also reported that crime rates have fallen 8 percent between 2019 and 2020 – most notably, crimes like breaking and entering have fallen 16 percent, robbery has fallen by 18 percent, theft of $5,000 and less fell by 20 percent and sexual assault declined by 9 percent.
Recent and common crimes in Canada
However, like all places in the world, low crime does not mean no crime. In April 2020, a mass shooting occurred in Nova Scotia, resulting in 23 fatalities (including the perpetrator) and leaving 3 injured. The individual behind the crime was Gabriel Wortman and his motives still remain unknown. Since this tragedy, the Canadian government noted that the national homicide rate increased by 7 percent from 2019.
The Covid-19 pandemic and the George Floyd tragedy has also brought to attention hate crimes taking place everywhere in the world. In Canada, hate crimes against the Indigenous, Black, South Asian and Asian community have also increased in 2020.
According to the State of the Criminal Justice System’s 2019 report, theft of personal property was the most common, contributing 34 percent of reported crimes. Physical assault accounts for 22 percent of reported crimes and theft of household property stands at 12 percent. However, this has all declined steadily since 2020, as per the report above.
Overall, while Canada remains a relatively peaceful country with low crime rate, tragedies still do happen and it is always good practice to remain vigilant.
Cities with the highest crime rate
According to the National Pardon Centre, the Prairies are where Canada’s most dangerous cities lie. The city of Thompson, Manitoba is one of the most dangerous. The homicide rate in Thompson stands at 21.21, standing far above the national average of 1.76. Firearm offences is also reported to have a score of 35.35, higher than the national average of 7.58. Cocaine production is at 650.36, significantly above the national average of 20.03.
Another city that’s high up in Canada’s most dangerous cities is North Battleford, Saskatchewan. According to this article from Maclean’s in 2020, North Battleford’s Violent Crime Severity Index stands at 362, while the national average is at 82.44. Its Crime Severity Index ranks top in Canada, at 385 – significantly higher than Thompson (366) – while the national average is 75.01.
That said, every country has its fair share of crime and it is important to note that while Thompson and North Battleford are one of Canada’s most dangerous cities, it is not a complete reflection of Canada’s safety as a whole country. It still remains as one of the safest countries in the world and you can rest assured living here will be relatively peaceful.
Cities with the lowest crime rate
The primarily French-speaking Quebec City, Quebec is the safest city in Canada, with a CSI of 14.58 and a Safety Index of 85.42. Not too far behind is Markham, Ontario, with a CSI of 23.04 and a Safety Index of 76.96. Cities like Coquitlam, Oakville, Ottawa and Waterloo also make it in the top 10 safest cities in Canada.
Cities with high student population like Toronto is also the second safest city in the world, according to The Economist‘s Safest Cities 2021 report, just above Singapore in rank number three and trailing closely behind Copenhagen – the world’s current safest city.
Canada’s crime prevention strategy
The National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS) is responsible for working with many partners and stakeholders to target and redress vulnerable communities in an effort to make Canada a safer place for all.
In November 2021, the Canadian government (via the Minister of Public Safety), encouraged interested organisations to apply for the Community Resilience Fund (CRF) to help support programme and research to prevent radicalisation to violence in Canada. This funding will commence in 2022-23 and approximately $6.5 million will be made available.
The government has also recently invested in school programmes to keep at-risk youths away from crime via the expansion of the YMCA’s Quebec Alternative Suspension programme, announced in August 2021. This initiative is created to keep youths (aged between 12 and 17) in school and away from crime-related activities by engaging them in “personalised activities as an alternative to a traditional school suspension.” An extra $4.5 million was pumped into the programme to support it for the next five years.
Know your numbers
911: Dial this number if you ever find yourself in an emergency. This is Canada’s national emergency hotline to gain access to the police, fire department and ambulance services.
Canada is also known to adopt the Good Samaritan law. This law offers legal protection to individuals who give assistance to others whom they believe are in trouble. This encourages bystanders to report a crime if they see one as they will be protected from legal repercussions should they encounter any mistake in the process of reporting a crime. This is not to confused with the “duty to rescue” law, where parties can be held responsible for being complicit in a crime they witnessed or have knowledge of and fail to report.
As a result, all prospective residents should rest assured that living and working in Canada will be pleasant due to its stable political and justice system. However, it is important to remember that crime exists anywhere, and hence it is crucial to remain vigilant and no matter where you are.