A Maclean’s magazine survey has found that Toronto’s crime rate ranks 26th in Canada, trailing far behind the Saskatchewan crime-ridden hot beds of Regina and Saskatoon.
The rankings were reached using 2006 Canadian Centre of Justice Statistics. The magazine calculated the percentage difference from the national rate for six crimes: homicide, sexual assault, aggravated assault, vehicle theft, robbery and break and entering. This percentage difference was a city’s “crime score”.
Statistics are a numbers game and if you actually believe Regina is more dangerous than Toronto, you must also believe Britney Spears is a great musician and Meet The Spartans was Oscar-worthy.
The top ten Canadian city’s with the highest crime rates, courtesy of Macleans magazine, are:
1. Regina – pop: 181,203 crime score: 146 per cent
2. Saskatoon- pop: 202,374 crime score: 146 per cent
3. Winnipeg- pop: 648,929 crime score: 144 per cent
4. Prince George, B.C.- pop: 77,343 crime score: 115 per cent
5. Edmonton- pop: 742,155 crime score: 88 per cent
6. New Westminster, B.C.- pop: 57,645 crime score: 87 per cent
7. Chilliwack, B.C.- pop: 75,208 crime score: 84 per cent
8. Victoria, B.C.- pop: 96,066 crime score: 77 per cent
9. Vancouver- pop: 589,352 crime score: 73 per cent
10. Halifax- pop: 214006 crime score: 72 per cent
Then there is Toronto in 26th, pop: 2,631,725 and a crime score of 12 per cent.
Forget about the percentage, think of the actual volume of crime, the actual numbers of incidents spread across the different categories on which this crime score is based.
Not to belittle the crime in these other Canadian centres but the crime scores do skew reality. Also, Toronto is not incredibly unsafe either but the survey results are misleading.
Toronto is Canada’s biggest city, one of North America’s bigger markets and we have big league problems. There is a hum in this city which is different from 10 years ago let alone just five.
There is a sense of entitlement and disenfranchisement so thick at ground level in some areas of Toronto, our ‘Toronto the Good’, that you do not have to even really look for it. You will simply stumble across it if you allow yourself to be close to it.
Blaming the media and that it simply magnifies Toronto crime, making it look worse than it seems, is a smokescreen in itself, just like the survey results are. Anyone in a newsroom will tell you, about a quarter of the actual crime reports it receives actually get publicized due to space, timeliness and impact. If media is painting a bad picture now, what would it be doing if it reported all the crime that happens on a daily basis, let alone overnight.
The random nature of the crime in Toronto, from road rage incidents to school crimes, are not an indicator of a safe city. Compared to other world class cities and some just south of us in the United States, we are relatively safe. However, to actually believe that within our own borders Toronto only ranks 26th is what is truly criminal.