Thunder Bay tops Canadian cities for highest murder rate

A report released this week shows that Thunder Bay has the highest per capita murder rate in the country.

The numbers from the report, conducted by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics released by StatsCan, break down how police-reported crime has spiked or declined in cities, provinces and territories across the country in 2018.

Thunder Bay, Ont. appears several times in the report, underlining a high number of crimes reported there.

The northwestern Ontario city has been under the microscope in the last year, after a podcast called Thunder Bay garnered attention. The program, which is being adapted to TV, investigated why the region has such a high number of the deaths and disappearances of Indigenous youth, and how corruption and colonialism has put this demographic at risk.

Thunder Bay’s homicide rate

In total, there were eight homicides in Thunder Bay, making it the Canadian city with highest homicide rate amongst census metropolitan areas (CMA) - municipalities with 100,000 or more.

That amounts to 6.38 homicides per 100,000 population. Other cities to top the list includes Brantford (with five homicides), Regina (with eight homicides) and Abbotsford-Mission (with six homicides).

In 2018, Barrie and Lethbridge were the only CMAs that had no reports of homicides.

Overall the report found that national homicide rates were down by four per cent, but varied between provinces and territories.

(Getty Images)

Second in crime severity index

Thunder Bay was high on the crime severity index (CSI), which measures both the volume and severity of police-reported crime. It placed at 94.3, following Edmonton (114.9), Kelowna (100.7), and Moncton (99.7).

When it comes to the violent crime severity index (VCSI), Thunder Bay placed second on the list with 159.7, behind Winnipeg (161.4), but before Regina (120.4). According to the report, all three cities have consistently reported the highest VCSI values of all the CMAs between 2008 and 2018.

Thunder Bay also reported the third highest violent crime rate in 2018 (1,545 violent incidents per 100,000 population) behind Lethbridge (1,842) and Moncton (1,596). The cities with the lowest VCSIs were Kelowna (48.4), Peterborough (52.1) and Barrie (52.8).

Police chief “not surprised”

Thunder Bay’s police chief told tbnewswatch that the city’s ranking is not news to her.

“If you look at the overall numbers, not really much has changed in terms of our rankings,” police chief Sylvie Hauth told the outlet on Tuesday. “The last few years we’ve remained fairly stable, not that it’s a good thing, but we’ve remained pretty much on par for our numbers pretty much annually in terms of our rankings.”