For the second year in a row, Canadians have said they believe Winnipeg is the most unsafe city in the country.
The latest Mainstreet poll looks at Canadian perceptions of safety across 15 major cities following the release of Statistics Canada’s crime status, and Quito Maggi, president of Mainstreet Research, said that the 2016 patterns continued this year.
“With just a single exception in the City of Toronto, cities that are the seat of provincial government have a relatively higher perception of safety than other urban centres in their home province,” said Maggi. “Victoria, Edmonton, Regina & Québec City all have higher perceived safety when compared to Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon & Montréal respectively. In Ontario where the nation’s capital continues to have higher perceived safety than Toronto, the pattern does continue but in this case, the city with the House of Commons outperforms the city with Queen’s Park.”
Ottawa remains on the top of the list, polled as the safest city among the 15 surveyed. Polling showed more people voted the capital as the safest city, despite an increase in both its overall crime rate by 5% and Crime Severity Index by 10%.
Meanwhile, Toronto is near the bottom of the list despite having a low crime rating among the 15 cities.
“Toronto did see a 2% increase in crime rate and a 5% increase in its Crime Severity Index, but dropped 11% with 40% saying Toronto was safe, and a majority (52%) saying Toronto was unsafe,” said Maggi. “Toronto again joined Winnipeg as the only two cities that have a net negative perceived safety.”
Vancouver, meanwhile, has the fifth highest crime rate out of the surveyed cities. And while crime rate decreased by 1%, and despite the ongoing opioid crisis, Maggi said that Canadians’ assessment of Vancouver has improved when it comes to safety.
“Vancouver is a big city and we would expect a lower score given the fact Vancouver has the 5th highest crime rate and plenty of media assets. 41 homicides took place in Vancouver in 2016, one less than Montreal, but only 45% of Canadians say Montreal is safe compared to 53% who say the same about Vancouver,” said Maggi. “It may be that Vancouver has just done a better job than other cities at molding its public image across the country. When you think of Vancouver you could think about the opioid crisis or you might think about the latest TV or movie that’s ﬁlming there.”
As for the top five safest cities, the majority are in eastern Canada.
So where does your city rank?