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20 Most Dangerous Cities in Canada in 2023

The crime rate in Canada is considered low overall. It’s certainly lower than the crime rate of Canada’s southern neighbour, the United States. Although Canada is a relatively safe place, there are a few dangerous cities that you should avoid. 

Canada uses the CSI, or Crime Severity Index, to measure police-reported crime. The CSI gives values that quantify the relative number and severity of crimes in different parts of Canada. It’s not a raw number; rather, it’s a more useful severity-weighted statistic.   

In the last couple of years, the country-wide CSI measure has stabilized, changing from 73.9 in 2020 to 73.1 in 2021.

That value came after a 7% drop in the CSI from 2019 to 2020. In other words, Canada is getting safer – but not in all of its cities.

In this guide, we’ll take a look at the eight most dangerous cities in Ontario as well as the twelve most dangerous cities in the rest of Canada’s provinces.

When you’re considering moving to Canada or visiting the country, you may want to stay away from these locations or at least be aware of your options. 

8 Worst Cities in Ontario

Although Ontario is generally a safe place to live, there are, of course, cities that are more dangerous than others. In Canada’s largest province, one can only expect that there would be a few places with higher crime rates.

Crime in Ontario, however, pales in comparison to crime across the rest of Canada. It’s the second-safest province, with a province-wide CSI of 56.2.

1. Timmins

The fourth-largest city in northeastern Ontario, Timmins, is located on the Mattagami River. Its history is centred around gold mining, but since its initial settlement, it has developed into a diverse and vibrant community with many cultural attractions. It also has a high crime rate. 

The CSI of Timmins clocks in at 159.9, with violent crime at a shocking 229.6 and nonviolent crime at 134.5. With those staggering statistics, Timmins is the most dangerous city in Ontario when looking at municipalities with over 25,000 residents. 

2. Sault Ste. Marie

Sault Ste. Marie is a city on the St. Mary’s river. It sits on the border of the U.S. and Canada and is close to three of the Great Lakes.

It’s known for its historical sites and some renowned art galleries. But like Timmins, it has a high crime rate that residents and visitors should keep in mind. 

Sault Ste. Marie measures 130.8 on the Crime Severity Index. Its violent crime rate sits at 143.2, and its nonviolent crime rate measures 126.1.

With crime rates like those, it’s become one of the most dangerous places in Ontario. 

3. Thunder Bay

Located on the shore of Lake Superior, Thunder Bay is a city in northwestern Ontario with its roots in the fur trading industry.

It has many unique attractions and a growing job market across many sectors. Housing there is also quite affordable. 

Thunder Bay has a CSI of 104.8. Its violent crime rate is 180.7, while its nonviolent crime rate is 77.3. Its violent crime rate is the second-highest of Ontario’s cities, coming in behind only Timmins. 

4. Cornwall

Cornwall is Ontario’s easternmost city. It’s right where the provinces of Quebec and Ontario meet and converge with the U.S. state of New York.

Positioned on the St. Lawrence River, Cornwall is one of Ontario’s oldest settlements, but its economy has moved into the modern age. 

Unfortunately, its CSI level is 112.9, which is well above Ontario’s average. Its violent crime rate is even higher, coming in at 139.6. Its nonviolent crime rate is also a hefty 103.1. 

5. Greater Sudbury

Also known as simply “Sudbury,” the city of Greater Sudbury is the largest city in northern Ontario by population. It has many urban comforts and interesting attractions, but unfortunately, it’s plagued by a high crime rate. 

Despite its many modern amenities, Greater Sudbury’s CSI rating is 84.4, which is high for Ontario. It has an especially concerning violent crime rate, at 127.2. Its nonviolent crime rate clocks in at a more approachable 68.8. 

6. London

London is a city in southwestern Ontario that lies along the Quebec City-Windsor corridor. It’s positioned just north of Lake Erie, and it’s home to the University of Western Ontario.

Still, its crime rate is considerably high – and has increased significantly in recent years.

Overall, the city’s CSI is 88.6. Its violent crime rate measures a shocking 106.4, up 41% from the previous year, while its nonviolent crime rate comes in at 82.0. 

7. Windsor

Located in southwestern Ontario, Windsor is positioned on the Detroit River, directly opposite the U.S. city of Detroit, Michigan.

It has an impressive waterfront park that stretches about 5 kilometres, and it’s home to a sculpture park and a large casino. 

Some believe the casino is part of the cause of Windsor’s high crime rates. Overall, its CSI is 94.9, with a violent crime rate of 93.6 and a nonviolent crime rate of 95.1. Especially for Ontario, those numbers are quite high. 

8. St. Catharines

The largest city in the Niagara region and the sixth largest urban area in Ontario, St. Catharines has a reputation that precedes it.

The city has been dubbed “The Garden City” due to its lush greenery, hiking trails, and parks. But along with natural wonders, it boasts a high crime rate. 

St. Catharines’ overall CSI comes in at 62.1. For the purposes of the Canada Crime Index, it’s grouped in with the whole of the Niagara region. It sees violent crime at a rate of 64.2 and nonviolent crime at a rate of 61.2. 

Related: Find out the best places to live in Canada.

12 Most Dangerous Cities in Canada

Quebec is the safest province in Canada, with an overall CSI of 54.3, and Ontario comes in as a close second. Outside of those two more metropolitan provinces, however, crime rates are even higher. The most dangerous area in Canada is the Northwest Territories, with a CSI rating of 391.2.

In terms of more highly settled provinces, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan all have cities with high crime rates. We’ll dive into the 12 most dangerous cities in Canada here. 

1. Red Deer, AB

Red Deer is one of Alberta’s most dangerous cities. It’s located midway on the Calgary-Edmonton corridor, and its local museum has a solid collection of First Nations art and artifacts. The city’s industries generally serve central Alberta. 

Unfortunately, Red Deer has an above-average crime rate of 176.4. Violent crimes come in at 175.7, while nonviolent crimes measure 176.2. That’s many points above Alberta’s average. 

2. Lethbridge, AB

In 2019, Lethbridge became the fourth city in Alberta to surpass 100,000 residents. It’s located close to the Canadian Rockies, so it has warm summers and mild winters. The temperate climate has attracted many residents. 

Despite its pleasant weather, Lethbridge has a CSI of 148.9 overall. Its violent crime rate is 133.8, and its nonviolent crime rate is 154.0. That’s above Alberta’s CSI of 101.36.

3. Kelowna, BC

Located in the Okanagan Valley, Kelowna is a city in the southern part of British Columbia. It’s surrounded by parks, forests, vineyards, and mountains. Inside the city, there’s a thriving cultural district and waterfront park. 

Despite these attractions, Kelowna has a high crime rate of 141.9. Its violent crime rate is 124.3, while its nonviolent crime rate is 148.0. Those numbers are well above what’s typical for British Columbia’s major cities. 

Related: Here are the best places to visit and things to do in Kelowna, BC.

4. Winnipeg, MB

Winnipeg is the capital and the largest city in the province of Manitoba. Its cultural heart is located at what’s called “The Forks,” where two rivers meet to form the city’s most populous arts and entertainment district. It’s also home to plenty of good restaurants. 

Because it’s a big city, Winnipeg has its fair share of crime. Its CSI comes in at 70.5. That’s still under Manitoba’s average of 126.9, however, meaning that Winnipeg has fewer crime incidents on average than the rest of its province. 

Here are some of the best places to live in Manitoba.

5. Regina, SK

Regina is Saskatchewan’s capital and its second-largest city. It has a robust art and cultural scene, and it’s a commercial hub for southern Saskatchewan. But due to its status as one of the province’s largest cities, it has a significant amount of crime. 

Regina’s CSI is 116.8. But what’s more alarming is its violent crime rate, which is 150.9. Its nonviolent crime measure is just 104.3. Still, the overall CSI is lower than Saskatchewan’s average of 146.7.

Here are some of the best cities to live in Saskatchewan.

6. Surrey, BC

A city in the Metro Vancouver area, Surrey lies south of the Fraser River on the U.S.-Canada border. It’s home to Peace Arch Provincial Park, where a white arch marks the border location. Despite this attraction, Surrey has an unfortunately high crime rate. 

Its overall crime rate is 70.8, which is still below British Columbia’s average of 92.8. In Surrey, there were high levels of concern about drug use and drug-related crimes.

7. Kamloops, BC

Kamloops is a city in south-central British Columbia. It’s close to the British Columbia Wildlife Park, where visitors can see protected species of cougars and bears. There are also hiking and skiing trails nearby to the city’s northeast. 

Unfortunately, Kamloops also offers a high crime rate. Its overall CSI is 135.3, with a violent crime rating of 132.9 and a nonviolent crime rating of 135.9. None of these values are particularly attractive. 

8. Nanaimo, BC

A harbour and ferry port located on the east side of Vancouver Island, Nanaimo is a vibrant urban center. It boasts a harbourfront walkway as well as a local museum that showcases indigenous art and stories. 

Nanaimo also has an increasing crime rate, with a CSI of 129.7. Its violent crime rate has increased 44% in the past year, clocking in at 146.0. Its nonviolent crime rate is slightly lower, measuring at 123.5. 

9. Saskatoon, SK

The largest city in Saskatchewan, Saskatoon straddles a bend in the South Saskatchewan River and is one of the province’s main urban centers. It’s located along Trans Canada Highway, making it an access point for interpersonal congregation. 

Saskatoon has a CSI of 119.1, just above its fellow Saskatoon city Regina’s CSI. Saskatoon also has a violent crime rate of 138.9 and a nonviolent crime at 111.7. 

10. St. John’s, NL

St. John’s is the capital and largest city in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. It’s located on Newfoundland island, and it has a historic harbour that was settled by the British in the 1600s. Its downtown is known for rows of colourful houses. 

Compared to the rest of Canada, the crime rate in St. John’s is relatively low, measuring at 67.9. However, it has an unusually high violent crime rate of 98.2, which has gone up 18% in the past year. Its nonviolent crime rate is 56.8. 

11. Moncton, NB

Moncton is the most populous city in the province of New Brunswick. It’s located in the southeast part of the province and is home to a variety of museums and other attractions that make it an interesting place to both live and visit. 

Moncton had the fourth-highest CSI rating in New Brunswick, at 92.3. Its violent crime rate was 95.1, while its nonviolent crime rate was 91.1. All of these numbers are higher than New Brunswick’s average of 88.4.

12. Edmonton, AB

The capital city of the province of Alberta, Edmonton, is situated on the North Saskatchewan River. It’s the commercial center of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region. Unfortunately, Edmonton has a problem with crime. 

The CSI of Edmonton is 106.2, with a violent crime rating of 123.8 and a nonviolent crime value of 99.6. While these values remain high, its CSI rating has decreased in recent years, meaning that the city’s police department may be getting a handle on this problem. 

Related: Best Places To Live in Alberta.

10 Most Dangerous Cities in Canada (Based on CSI)

We’ve taken the ten most dangerous cities from our list of 20 and compiled them in the table below to make it easy for you to compare them side by side. 

10 Most Dangerous Cities in Canada by CSICSI Rating
Red Deer, AB176.4
Timmins, ON159.9
Lethbridge, AB148.9
Kelowna, BC141.9
Kamloops, BC135.3
Sault Ste. Marie, ON130.8
Nanaimo, BC129.7
Saskatoon, SK119.1
Regina, SK116.8
Cornwall, ON112.9


What city has the highest crime rate in Canada?

In all of Canada, the town of Manawan, QC, has the highest crime rate, with a CSI of 1,714.8. But because there are only 1,500 people in Manawan, each crime counts for much more weight. Of cities with over 70,000 people, Red Deer, AB has the most crime. 

Where do most murders happen in Canada?

The highest homicide rate in Canada is in the Yukon. That province has 9.31 murders per 100,000 residents

What is the safest city to live in Canada?

Quebec is the safest province overall, so it’s no surprise that it’s also home to the safest city in Canada. Looking at areas with over 50,000 residents, the safest city in Canada is Granby, QC, which has a CSI of 41.0. 

What is the cheapest place in Canada to live?

Sherbrooke, QC, is one of the cheapest places to live in Canada. The cost of living there is 13% lower than the cost of living in Montreal. 

Which city in Canada has the most immigrants? 

Toronto continues to attract the highest number of immigrants in Canada. In 2020, it attracted nearly 118,000 migrants from other countries who decided to settle there. 

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Gravatar for Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)
Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert and a veterinarian. He has a master’s degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School (Scotland) and has completed several courses and certificates in finance, including the Canadian Securities Course. He also has an MSc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan. Enoch is passionate about helping others win with their finances and has been writing about money matters for over a decade. He has been featured or quoted in The Globe and Mail, Winnipeg Free Press, Wealthsimple, CBC News, Financial Post, Toronto Star, CTV News, Canadian Securities Exchange, Credit Canada, National Post, and many other personal finance publications. You can learn more about him on the About Page.

His top investment tools include Wealthsimple and Questrade. He earns cash back on purchases using KOHO, monitors his credit score for free using Borrowell, and earns interest on savings through EQ Bank.

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Interest is calculated daily on the total closing balance and paid monthly. Rates are per annum and subject to change without notice.