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Top 10 Dangerous Cities in Ontario

Top 10 Dangerous Cities in Ontario

Ontario, which houses the capital city, is one of the most visited provinces in Canada—also the most populated. Although it’s known as a generally safe area, there are still a few questionable places you might want to steer clear of.

So, what is the most dangerous city in Ontario?

Sault Ste. Marie is the most dangerous city in Ontario. It recorded a Crime Severity Index (CSI) of 117.4 in 2022, ranking as the highest in the province based on the findings of Statistics Canada.

Other dangerous cities in Ontario based on the same rankings are Thunder Bay, Kingston, Brantford, Windsor, Sudbury, London, Waterloo,  Peterborough, and St. Catharines. 

If you want better insight, read on and see which places you should stay vigilant.

 Sault Ste. Marie

According to the Canada Crime Index 2022, Sault Ste. Marie has a CSI of 117.4—a measurement for the severity of police-reported crimes.

CSI has two key components: the Violent Crime Severity Index (VCSI) and the Non-Violent Crime Severity Index (NVCSI). The former focuses on crimes like homicide, sexual assault, etc., while the latter focuses on fraud, theft, drug-related crimes, etc.

The city has a higher VCSI at 136.8. It’s 21% higher than its NVCSI, which is 110.7.

With approximately 75,673 residents, this community faces challenges concerning crime and public safety. Prevalent crimes are mostly aggravated assault, theft, drug-related crimes, and vandalism.

 Thunderbay

Thunder Bay, Ontario, home to 111,113 residents had a CSI of 108.87 in 2022, which is a slight increase from the previous year, which was 108.33.

It holds the highest VCSI in Ontario in 2022, which stands at 215.98. The most prevalent crimes in the city are hate crimes and homicide due to gang and gun violence.

In the same year, Thunder Bay has recorded its highest homicide rate since 1992. With a hate crime rate of 11.1 in 2020, the city also has the fourth highest hate crime rate in Canada in the same year.

 Kingston

Kingston is a city steeped in history and culture, boasting historical landmarks such as Queen’s University and the Royal Military College. However, it also faces a challenging reality as one of the cities in Ontario with a high crime rate.

Kingston has a population of 138,204, which is fewer than other large urban areas in Ontario like Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, among others. The CSI for Kingston in 2022 is 86.48, making it the third most dangerous city in the province.

It has an NVCSI of 85.81, following Sault Ste. Marie, 110.66 has the highest in the province. According to a 2018 report by Statistics Canada, the most prevalent crimes in Kingston are breaking and entering, along with sexual assault. 

From 2008 to 2018, the city’s CSI remained largely unchanged, with only a 1% decline over the course of the decade. The decrease of Kingston’s CSI from 2008 to 2018 has a big difference compared to Ontario’s 15% decline during the same time frame.

 Brantford

Brantford, known for its manufacturing, retail, and healthcare sectors, is home to 158,391 residents. In terms of crime, the city reports a CSI of 85.64 as of 2022, with only a slight 0.16 score higher from Kingston’s 86.48.

As of 2021 data from Brantford police, the most prevalent crime in the city is gang-related homicide. However, it’s worth noting that from 2020 to 2021, the city has seen a notable decline in crime severity, with a reduction of 4.95%.

 Windsor

Windsor got a CSI of 83.83 for the year 2022. The city, often referred to as the automotive capital of Canada, boasts a population of approximately 340,000 residents as of 2022, comprising 2.25% of the province’s population.

The most prevalent crimes in Windsor include breaking and entering, fraud, and homicide, based on a 2018 report from Statistics Canada. Theft of $5,000 or under is the most common non-violent crime on the city’s streets, according to the same data.

But in 2022, Windsor faced an increase in youth crime rates. There were 254 youths involved in criminal activities, which is an 11.9% rise compared to 227 from the previous year.

 Greater Sudbury

Greater Sudbury, Ontario, holds a unique position as the largest city by area in the province. As of 2022, its population stands at 165,958.

Meanwhile, Greater Sudbury reports a CSI of 82.75. Although it’s relatively low compared to others, it has a VCSI of 137.89, placing itself below Thunder Bay’s 215.98, with a 63.84% difference between the two cities.

The most common crimes reported in Greater Sudbury in 2022 included homicides, violent firearm offences, and Level 1 sexual assaults. these crimes experienced increases of 64.4%, 55%, and 4.8%, respectively, when compared to the previous year.

Greater Sudbury also saw an 11.9% increase in youth involvement in crime in 2022. However, there was a simultaneous decrease in breaking and entering, threats, robbery, and fraud, resulting in an NVCSI of 66.98–the third lowest in the city in the same year.

 London

London, with a population of 515,000 residents, got a CSI of 79.71 in 2022. Its score only has a 3.67% difference from Great Sudbury’s CSI in the same year, which is 82.75.

Nevertheless, in 2022, London achieved its lowest crime rate in 24 years. The city’s local authorities and government marked this a significant milestone.

Based on the 2022 city police report, the most common crimes reported include theft, assault, and break & enter. These crimes increased by 6.73% and 23.27% and decreased by 18.61%, respectively, compared to the reported cases in 2021.

 Waterloo

Home to the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo is known as one of the educational hubs of Ontario. It is home to 129,054 residents.

In 2022, Waterloo got a CSI of 79.12. Although it’s slightly higher than the previous year’s 82.75, it marks a notable achievement for Waterloo, as the city police mentioned that it hit the lowest crime rate in 24 years.

While the overall CSI of Waterloo is relatively low, there has been a 14% increase in the VCSI compared to the previous year. In 2022, the city had a VCSI of 98.41, a 14% increase compared to 85.12 in 2021.

On the flip side, the city’s 2022 police report indicates that the most common crimes in Waterloo are non-violent. The city’s most prevalent crimes are sexual assaults, assaults, robberies, utter threats, and break-ins.

 Peterborough

Peterborough, Ontario, renowned for its natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities (row 1230 Best Outdoors Activities In Canada), is home to a population of 87,552 as of 2022. The city’s 2022 CSI of 77.18 is slightly higher than the 76.98 of the previous year.

However, it’s noteworthy that the 2022 NVCSI for Peterborough was 69.44. It indicates a 5% increase compared to the 2021’s 65.97.

In 2022, Peterborough police recorded the following crime incidents: 632 fraud cases, 147 motor vehicle thefts, 732 thefts from vehicles, and 362 breaking and entering. The city’s police stated that these numbers indicate a surge in the said crimes.

 St. Catharines

St. Catharines, celebrated for its picturesque landscapes and abundant outdoor activity spots, is home to 496,059 residents as of 2022.The city ranked 27th among the top cities in Canada with highest CSI, recording a 58.7 in 2022.

That same year, St. Catharines witnessed a noteworthy decline in its CSI. It exhibited a 9.35% decrease compared to its 2021 record of 62.36. 

The city also has a VCSI of 66.52 and an NVCSI of 53.56, which are around 69% lower compared to Sault Ste. Marie, which are 136.8 and 110.7, respectively.

While St. Catharines experienced an increase in fraud and breaking and entering incidents, there was also a decrease in cannabis-related imports/exports and child pornography crimes.

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