Sunday, March 11, 2018

Canada's Most Dangerous Places 2018

The 2018 ranking of Canada's Most Dangerous Places is available on Macleans in fully searchable form. It uses something it calls the Crime Severity Index (CSI - coincidence? I think not), which purports to take into account the severity as well as the number of the crimes, which are analyzed under several categories and sub-categories, such as Violent Crime, Homicide, Sexual Assault, Robbery, Impaired Driving, etc.
In overall terms, the big, bad city of Toronto sits at a pretty creditable No. 124 out of 229 Canadian cities, although in Violent Crime it ranks at No. 32 (in the same neck of the woods as fellow large cities Montreal and Vancouver). In Homicides, Toronto is No 44; in Sexual Assaults No. 93; in Assaults in general No. 107. In Firearms Offences, however, Toronto is way up there, the 18th worst in Canada, and in Robberies No. 11, although in Breaking and Entering Offences, it fares much better for some reason, right down at No. 192 out of 229. In Fraud, Toronto is 112th in the list; in Impaired Driving it is the third best in the whole country at No. 226; in Cannabis Trafficking No. 130; in Cocaine Trafficking No. 72; in Other Drug Trafficking No. 175; and in Youth Crime No. 170.
In a word, all over the place, with very little apparent logic or consistency.
What is particularly striking is the prevalence of Western and Prairies cities, particularly northern ones, at the top (i.e. worst) of the lists. North Battleford, Saskatchewan is far and away the worst offender, topping several of the categories as well as the overall ranking, followed by Thompson, Manitoba, then Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and Williams Lake, British Columbia. In fact, cities in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, BC and Alberta occupy the top (i.e. most dangerous) fifth or so of most of the categories, the bottom (i.e. safest) of the list being dominated by smaller cities in Ontario. Sleepy Woodstock, Ontario surprised me by appearing at No. 2 in Homicides, though, despite hardly featuring in any of the other lists, until I realized that it was due exclusively to nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer, who was convicted of the murders of 8 Woodstock nursing home residents in 2017.
The rankings are of course per capita, and so do not reflect the absolute numbers of crimes. Thus, Thompson, Manitoba, which ranks as the No. 1 city for Violent Crimes and Homicides, actually "only" saw 3 homicides last year, compared to 74 in Toronto, but then it only has a population of 14,264 compared to Toronto's 2.9 million.
All very interesting, if a mite depressing. I guess if you are looking for general recommendations, for retirement for example, you could probably do worse than to aim for small-town Ontario, rather than BC or the Prairies, however, scenic and bucolic those town might appear. Oh, be careful of nursing homes, though.

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