Is Vancouver a safe city?
While B.C.'s largest city is often ranked among the most livable places in the world, many locals say they feel unsafe living here.
In November 2022, the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) reported the highest levels of violent crime in the city since 2013, with robberies, attempted murders, and assaults driving the uptick.
A new report finds that Vancouver also doesn't crack Canada's top 10 safest cities list. A Canadian Crime Severity Index for cities across the country, created by Rentola.ca, measures the security of communities by five key metrics and data from Statistics Canada.
- Number of citizens per police officer: A city is considered safer if there is a higher ratio of police officers to citizens.
- Crime severity index (CSI): This category includes the frequency of offences in an area and their levels of severity.
- Violent crime severity index: Similar to the CSI, this category also looks at the frequency of offences except it focuses on more violent crimes such as homicide, sexual assault, and robbery.
- Non-violent crime severity index: The category looks at data from any crimes that do not include physical violence, such as embezzlement, white-collar crime, insider trading, and fraud.
- Problem-solving rate: This figure is determined by analyzing the "number of solved cases to charges made (or lack of)."
Canadian cities are given scores in each category out of 10, with one representing the worst value and 10 being the best. The categories are then combined and the average of them determines the city's place in the ranking.
Ontario cities are considered the safest Canadian cities
Ontarian cities dominated the top of the ranking, with Barrie emerging as the safest spot based on its overall low levels of crime and a high ratio of police to citizens. While the city had a perfect score for violent crime (10), levels of non-violent crime are high in the city (1.73).
Another Ontario city, Brantford, came second overall, with similarly low levels of violent crime. Guelph was third, with Toronto placing fourth.
Saint John in New Brunswick is the first city to appear on the list that isn't located in Ontario, rounding out the top five.
"Through a thorough examination of the presented data, a clear understanding emerges regarding the influence of each indicator on the overall security index of each metropolitan area," note the report's authors.
"In this context, Québec City exhibits the lowest crime rate. However, it is noteworthy that a significant portion of the crimes committed within the area are of a violent nature, and the ratio of its police force to the area's population remains relatively small.
"Therefore, when compared to Lethbridge, which possesses the highest crime index, Québec City appears less secure."
Vancouver ranked 18th on the list, with a score of 5.81. Several of its categories received scores just over five, except for violent crime, which was less frequent (7.95). Where the city ranked worst, however, was for solving crimes, with a score of 4.12.