Toronto ranked 26th on list of Canada’s most dangerous cities
Watch your shadow. Lock your doors. Program 911 into your speed dial because this is, after all, a dangerous city. Or so we thought.
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On a list of the country’s 100 most dangerous cities, Toronto doesn’t even make it into the top 20, according to this week’s cover story in Maclean’s magazine.
Toronto was ranked 26th on the list, lower than most other urban centres including Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Regina, which was the most dangerous city.
"These results show what we’ve been saying for a long time," said Mark Pugash, a Toronto police spokesperson. "Toronto is, was and remains one of the safest cities in the country."
And many of the GTA’s suburbs are even more crime-proof, with Halton, Peel and York regions in the top 20 safest places to live. The town of Caledon, north of Brampton, was named safest community.
The rankings were tabulated using 2006 Statistics Canada crime data — including homicides, sexual assaults, vehicle thefts, robberies and break-ins — from municipal police services in the 100 cities or regions with the largest populations.
The numbers may say one thing, but fly in the face of a deteriorating public perception of Toronto, seen as a hub of urban violence where guns and gangs run rampant.
"Most people in Toronto think crime is going up and we are much more dangerous than we were 10-15 years ago," said Scot Wortley, a criminology professor at the University of Toronto. "Our homicide rate in Toronto was higher in the ’70s than it is now."
Wortley blames our "fear-filled" perception of our neighbourhoods squarely on the media, which tend to focus on crime.