19 Cities in Canada That Will Make You Think Twice About Safety

The Great White North, or as most know it, Canada, is a country characterised by many things. Its welcoming charm, the friendliness of its citizens, and then, of course, its stunning beauty. It’s not often that the word ‘dangerous’ comes up in conversations about this country.

Yes, some danger lurks within its cities’ streets, but what even constitutes danger in a peace-loving place like Canada? If you’re shaking your head at the idea, let’s put this burning issue to rest.

One of the most enticing facts about Canada is that it’s one of the safest countries in the world. But, sadly, just like in many other countries, crime is prevalent.

But enough with the fear-mongering. Let’s have a look at the 19 most dangerous cities in Canada.

How is This Determined?

The global rating site Numbeo offers an extensive list and in-depth rundown of each country and, in turn, each city’s crime index. We have used this to determine the Top 10 most dangerous cities in Canada and then the balance of cities with higher crime rates based on population. For more information, check out the official Numbeo website.

19 Most Dangerous Cities in Canada

Here are the 19 most dangerous cities in Canada.

1. Surrey, British Columbia


Photo by Udayaditya Barua on Unsplash

Crime Index: 64.58

Surrey, located close to Vancouver, is widely considered a great place to live. It offers affordable housing, a variety of educational institutes and schools, and an easy-going lifestyle that attracts people from all walks of life.

However, in recent years, a noticeable uptick has been recorded in drug-related crimes, such as possession with and without intent to distribute, and drug-related assault. Unfortunately this has result in Surrey becoming the unofficial crime capital of Canada.

Safety Tip: Always be attentive when leaving items of value in your vehicle, and refrain from travelling alone at night.

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2. Lethbridge, Alberta


Photo by Graham Ruttan on Unsplash

Crime Index: 63.89

Considering that most cities in Canada have relatively low populations, Lethbridge became the fourth city in the state of Alberta to reach 100,000 residents.

However, this influx of residents has caused its crime index to rise sharply to 63.89, but this does not mean serious offenses have gone up. When it comes to crime, the most common occurrences include drug-related issues related to the ongoing opioid crisis.

Safety Tip: Stay away from areas where drug-related crimes are constantly reported, and when traveling, always stick to well-lit neighborhoods.

3. Red Deer, Alberta


Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Crime Index: 61.75

Home to several major oil companies, Red Deer, is the third biggest city in Alberta population-wise.

Incidents of drug using and dealing, as well as vandalism and theft, are the major issues facing Red Deer. Although reported incidents involving assault and armed robbery have also been on the rise in higher populated areas of the city.

Safety Tip: If heading into the central business district, be aware of your surroundings and avoid the less crowded areas further out of the city boundaries.

4. Kelowna, British Columbia


Photo by Jeffrey Eisen on Unsplash

Crime Index: 61.56

Are you wondering if living in Kelowna is a good idea? The answer is yes. It has fantastic weather, numerous attractions such as wineries, ski hills, and exceptional schools.

Shockingly enough, Kelowna has the fourth-highest crime rate of any metropolitan area in Canada. The most commonly reported crimes in and outside Kelowna’s metro area are theft and vandalism.

Safety Tip: Try not to carry items of value with you; always keep an eye on your surroundings.

5. Sudbury, Ontario


Image by NoName_13 from Pixabay

Crime Index: 60.10

Regarding diversity, Sudbury in Northern Ontario is one of the best places to live in Canada. It’s a thriving city where urban and rural blend seamlessly, making it a popular option for young people and tourists.

While petty crimes in Sudbury have been steadily declining for the last three years, according to the VCSI, violent crimes have increased. In 2021, Sudbury recorded the fourth-highest homicide rate in Canada.

Safety Tip: Always ensure that a close friend or relative knows where you’re going and avoid poorly-lit areas.

6. Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

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Photo by Udayaditya Barua on Unsplash

Crime Index: 59.81

Sault Ste. Marie has long been a favorite destination for families seeking extensive city amenities with small-town charm. It’s close to three of the Great Lakes of Canada and thus is popular amongst tourists as well.

Sault Ste. Marie, however, has some issues that have been reported with aggravated assault and theft. Here the threat of vandalism and drug-related crimes such as using and dealing is what is mostly reported and a cause for concern.

Safety Tip: Do not engage with strangers in public areas, especially those offering you something.

7. Winnipeg, Manitoba


Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Crime Index: 58.93

As the capital of Manitoba, Winnipeg is the province’s, cultural heart. At its centre, you’ll find “The Forks”, where two rivers meet to create the city’s most populous arts and entertainment district that draws thousands annually.

Because Winnipeg is quite a big city and well-known in Canada, it does see its fair share of crime and criminal activities. Crimes such as muggings and robberies are some of the most commonly reported, while high levels of assault and armed robbery have also been reported.

Safety Tip: At night, you should avoid areas that are located further out of the city centre.

8. Oshawa, Ontario

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Image by Wissam Hajj from Pixabay

Crime Index: 55.08

Locally the city of Oshawa is known as the automotive capital of Canada thanks to the number of automotive companies based in the city.

As one of the most vibrant cities in Canada, Oshawa has a moderately high level of crime, such as the use and dealing of drugs. This correlates with its high levels of vandalism and petty theft. However, violent crimes like assault rarely occur in the city and its suburbs.

Safety Tip: Do not carry large sums of cash with you when heading into the city, and always stick to crowded areas. 

9. Brampton, Ontario


Photo by sangam sharma on Unsplash

Crime Index: 54.98

The city boasts more than 4,000 acres of parkland and outdoor recreational areas that collectively stretch for more than 90 km.

The city is generally considered safe with a relatively low crime rate, but some criminal activities are more prevalent than others. Crimes involving the public use of narcotics and drug dealing within its outdoor areas especially create the most trouble.

Safety Tip: Avoid public spaces at night or when heading out alone.

10. Hamilton, Ontario

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Image by Vlad Vasnetsov from Pixabay

Crime Index: 54.53

Hamilton in Ontario is widely considered a fantastic place to stay. It’s often referred to as one of Canada’s best real estate markets, offering young professionals a diverse population, a thriving culinary culture, and affordable housing.

Once again, when living in Hamilton, you’re most likely to face drug-related crimes and cases of vandalism and theft. Whereas moderate acts such as stealing cars, mugging, and robbery with the intent to cause grievous harm have been reported in city hubs.

Safety Tip: Try to travel in groups of two or three.

11. London, Ontario

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Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Crime Index: 53.59

With its proximity to Toronto, several pristine beaches, and stunning natural attractions, the city of London is a beloved destination for tourists.

A typical big city, London does see daytime crimes such as pickpocketing and muggings happen in densely populated areas. Sticking to the trend across the country, drug-related crimes have the highest possibility rate, with vandalism to private property a close second.

Safety Tip: Be aware of your surroundings at all times and take caution at night when heading out of your home for stray vandals.

12. Regina, Saskatchewan


Photo by Tandem X Visuals on Unsplash

Crime Index: 52.82

One of the fastest-growing cities in Canada, Regina in the Saskatchewan province, is rich in history and showcases a vibrant cultural atmosphere.

That being said, with the city’s quick expansion, crimes such as drug dealing and vandalism are the city’s most significant cause of problems. Other minor offenses, such as petty theft and muggings, also occur within the city center.

Safety Tip: When heading out at night, stick to familiar areas and always be aware of where you are and, if possible, travel in groups.

13. Kamloops, British Columbia


Photo by Evan Fitzer on Unsplash

Crime Index: 52.63

Widely considered to be a safe city, Kamloops draws in visitors because of its ample recreational areas and the rich and diverse economic landscape.

Home burglaries and robberies are the most commonly reported crimes in Kamloops, especially within its suburbs. However, when heading into the city, you’ll encounter high levels of drug usage and dealing paired with vandalism and theft.

Safety Tip: Never leave your valuables unattended in public and avoid traveling long distances at night, especially on the city’s outskirts.

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14. Nanaimo, British Columbia


Photo by Rick Hyne on Unsplash

Crime Index: 49.23

Known as The Harbour City, Nanaimo on the west coast of Canada offers some of the best living conditions in the country. Weather-wise, it boasts a mild climate, while city amenities like cultural institutions and outstanding schools make it an enticing place to stay.

While reasonably safe, areas south of Northfield Road have a high crime rate. Home burglaries and robberies are the most commonly reported crimes in the city and having things stolen from your car in public areas.

Safety Tip: Do not head outside at night on foot, as the region is known for having wandering wolves spotted after sunset.

15. Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

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Image by james_nagarbaul from Pixabay

Crime Index: 48.81

A mid-sized city, Saskatoon has a reputation for being oriented toward the local and international student community.

Violent crimes such as assault and armed robberies mainly occur in the Pleasant Hill district of the city. Whereas generally speaking, the other areas of the town have a moderate level of minor crimes, such as vandalism and theft, and a few instances of muggings.

Safety Tip: Always travel in groups when going out into the city center, especially at night.

16. St. Catharines, Ontario

st catharines ontariost catharines ontario

Photo by Yash Golwala on Unsplash

Crime Index: 47.42

Surrounded by natural attractions and spaces, the growing community of St.Catharines is a stunning place to live. Its superb location between Toronto and Hamilton means it offers a diverse career and education landscape.

According to the Niagara Economic Development Forum, St.Catharines is one of the safest metropolitan areas in Canada. While car theft and muggings very rarely occur in the city, other more common crimes include drug-related offences and vandalism.

Safety Tip: Never head out alone at night, and avoid public spaces after dark, as the city faces a growing homelessness problem.

17. St. John’s, Newfoundland


Photo by Gurpreet Singh on Unsplash

Crime Index: 46.99

The city of St. John’s is a unique combination of stunning features. From a vibrant and lively historic city centre to sprawling nature parks, it also boasts breathtaking beaches.

In 2022 the St. John’s police department reported a crime rate of 5,508 incidents per 100,000 residents, making it a generally safe place to stay. On par with other cities in Newfoundland, the most common crimes reported include those related to drug usage and trafficking.

Safety Tip: Never approach strangers, especially at night and be aware of your surroundings when travelling alone.

18. Moncton, New Brunswick


Photo by Med Badr Chemmaoui on Unsplash

Crime Index: 45.04

Moncton in New Brunswick might be a smaller city on this list, but it offers numerous fantastic big-city attractions. With a very welcoming local population, the city is quickly expanding thanks to a growing immigrant population.

As with many expanding cities, Moncton faces a rising homelessness crisis spurred on by a surge in drug usage and dealing. Other common crimes include assault and robbery, which are in some lower-income regions of the city.

Safety Tip: If traveling alone, always ensure that you do not carry valuables with you and avoid areas where more crime is reported.

19. Edmonton, Alberta


Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Crime Index: 44.56

The capital city of the Alberta province, Edmonton, boasts the highest quality of life in the country. Locally, it’s the gateway to Canada’s wild, adventurous north and attracts thousands due to its family-friendly lifestyle and atmosphere.

As for crime, Edmonton is a relatively safe city with its neighbourhoods, such as Downtown Edmonton having a low crime index. While significant crimes aren’t a massive concern within the town, petty crimes occur within populated areas, mainly in drug-related domestic violence cases.

Safety Tip: Stick to your common sense instincts. If somewhere doesn’t feel safe, it probably isn’t. Do not travel alone at night.

Final Thoughts | Most Dangerous Cities in Canada

So what is the most dangerous city in Canada? And are these the worst cities in Canada? It all depends on the metrics used to evaluate danger. If you’re planning a trip to the Great White North, you’re bound to fall in love instantly. But do stay safe out there.

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Amanda O’Brien is the creator and editor of The Boutique Adventurer. She has visited 80 countries and is a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers as well as the IFTWTA. She is passionate about wine had has just completed Level 3 of the WSET. Born in Australia, she lives in London.