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Majority of Canadians believe Toronto is unsafe, despite lowest crime rate: poll

Last Updated Aug 23, 2017 at 6:11 pm EDT

File photo of Toronto police investigating a crime scene. CITYNEWS

A new poll suggests that people believe Toronto is one of the most unsafe cities in Canada – despite having the lowest crime rate in the country.

According to the Mainstreet/Postmedia poll, more than half – 52 per cent – of respondents believe Toronto is unsafe. In fact, people believe it’s the No. 2 least-safe place in the country. The city perceived to be the least safe is Winnipeg, at 55 per cent. Montreal was No. 3., followed by Saskatoon and Quebec City.

The survey polled 2,050 people across the country, asking them about the perceived safety of 15 different cities.

While many view Toronto as unsafe, the city had the lowest crime rate in 2016, with just under 3,000 reported crimes, according to Statistics Canada.

“Toronto lies at the other end of the spectrum and continues [to be] near the bottom of the list of safe cities. In contrast, [it has] the lowest crime rate among the 15 cities that were surveyed,” Quito Maggi, the president of Mainstreet Research, said in a release.

Although the crime rate increased by two per cent to 2,954 reported crimes in 2016, Toronto has the lowest crime rate of the 15 major cities in Canada, the poll found.

“The number of homicides in Toronto last year, that was the worst in Canada. But compare that with the overall population rate and you compare to the other cities, that makes it fall somewhere in the middle of the pack,” said Dr. Joseph Angolano, the vice-president of Mainstreet.

As for the safest cities, Ottawa was seen as the safest city in Canada, followed by Charlottetown and Victoria.

“Charlottetown, St. John’s and Moncton are all in the Top 5 [of cities believed to be safe] while Halifax remains in seventh spot of [cities believed to be safe], with Charlottetown continuing second to only Ottawa,” Maggi said.

He said that while Atlantic Canada is regarded as safe by most Canadians, it is not viewed in the same light by Canadians who live in that region.

The Mainstreet/Postmedia poll was conducted Aug. 14-18 via telephone, and has a margin of error of +/- 2.16 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

View the poll results below, or click here to read it.

Mainstreet – Safe and Unsafe Cities 2017 by CityNewsToronto on Scribd