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How Safe is Toronto? 
Toronto is a world-class city with its own unique culture, an exciting food scene, and diverse population. Whatever your interests are, there’s something for everyone. You can check out the fun restaurants and bars, go shopping, visit one of our many museums, or people-watch from a patio. And that’s just a small list of activities. Really, there’s no shortage of fun in the city.
So Toronto is a wonderful city, but is it safe? Like every other city, Toronto isn’t perfect.
Everyone knows Toronto is the place to be, but in 2022, is it dangerous? While there’s no easy answer, we will answer this question using different criteria to help you decide for yourself.
Is Toronto Safe?
According to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Safe Cities Index in 2021, Toronto ranks second only to Copenhagen. Of a list of 60 international cities, that’s a pretty big achievement. But like in any other city, Toronto has its own flaws.
Now, is it enough to stop you from visiting or living here? It shouldn’t be, but it’s important to be mindful of it and take precautions to keep yourself safe.
Toronto visitors and residents can take comfort in the fact that the city is not notorious for any kind of crime. For example, Paris is infamous for its pickpockets, but it is not a common thing in the Canadian city.
Another great comparison is with New York City. The two cities are very alike. After all, many films and movies that take place in New York are shot in Toronto. Both cities are dense urban centres and are filled with opportunity and fun. However, compared to New York City, crime and danger in Toronto are at the lowest they have been in years.
So Toronto doesn’t have a lot of problems other cities have, but what are the dangers in Toronto?
Dangers in Toronto
After years of low homicide rates, in 2016, there was a years-long spike in that kind of crime. However, since 2019, there has been a trend of decline in homicides. As of May 9, 2022, there have only been 26 homicides. According to the Toronto police’s data, in 2021, total robbery in the city has decreased by 20% from the year before. Compared to other crimes, assault rates are pretty high. Last year, in 2021, there were a whopping 19, 387 incidents of assault.
Trouble on the TTC
In recent years, crimes on the TTC have increased drastically. Many Torontonians feel like every other day, there’s a new horror story. People have been outright physically assaulted on buses, trains, and streetcars. In 2022, witnesses filmed a woman being pushed onto train tracks by another woman. Thankfully she survived.
Increase of Homeless and Mentally Ill People on the Streets
As the nation’s most populated city, it makes sense that Toronto has the highest number of homeless people in Canada. While it is unlikely that any of these people will even interact with you, it can be a shock to newcomers. It’s not unheard of for homeless people to be aggressive on public transportation in malls.
Is Toronto Safe at Night?
For the most part, Toronto is still safe even when the sun’s down. The city centres are always well-lit and rarely empty. It’s not uncommon for the sidewalks and roads to be filled with pedestrians and cars. You can take comfort in the safety of numbers. If you avoid dimly-lit, dark areas like alleyways and parks at night, there isn’t really much cause for concern.
On the weekends, you can expect drunk people loitering around the city. Other than being loud and a bit obnoxious, they usually pose no real danger. In most cases, they are completely harmless, but again, in the city, you should always be on alert.
The Safest Areas in Toronto
Yorkville in the Annex
Yorkville is an upscale neighbourhood with high-end boutiques, restaurants, and properties to match. Officially located in “The Annex,” this neighbourhood within a neighbourhood attracts a lot of people, locals and tourists alike. In 2022, there have only been 273 reported crimes, mostly non–violent.
Another extremely expensive part of the city, Bridle Path also poses very few dangers. The Bridlepath-Sunnybrook neighbourhood also boasts very little crime. Of only 48 criminal incidents, the most common of which was motor vehicle theft, a non-violent crime.
Dangerous Places in Toronto to Avoid
Many people forget that Toronto is made up of six different boroughs. A lot of crime does occur in Toronto proper, but in the other boroughs, there are dangerous places there as well.
Historically, many of these neighbourhoods have been crime-ridden, but today these areas show promise. More and more people are moving out of Downtown Toronto for cheaper properties and to start a family.
Despite this, these neighbourhoods have higher crime rates compared to the rest of Toronto and have a historical stigma against them. While the following places are still dangerous relative to other parts of the city, again, it’s safer compared to many other North American cities.
Jane and Finch
This neighbourhood has a high violent crime rate compared to the rest of Toronto. Of the 17 police divisions in Toronto, the area has had the most gun-violence incidents. The area is infamous, but there are now community efforts in place to better the area.
The neighbourhood is also undergoing the process of gentrification as can be seen in the rise of upscale townhouses, restaurants, and stores.
This pocket of Toronto was once infamous for its gang activity, but today the area is quite quiet. For a period, the area was nicknamed “Scarlem.” Some areas still reflect this. Neighbourhoods like Malvern and Morningside in 2022 have had the highest levels of major crimes.
Today, the borough looks like your average suburb, if a bit rundown. It has a history-based stigma, but this part of the city is now also slowly improving. Neighbourhoods like Port Union and Scarborough Village are quite upscale and are nothing like their reputation.
Our Tips for a Staying Safe in Toronto
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Don’t use your headphones in public.
- Avoid walking alone at night.
- Keep the GPS function on your phone on or share your location with a friend.
- Keep all your valuables close to you.
- Tell someone where you will be going.
Is Toronto safe? That depends on the metric you use. Relative to other cities, Toronto is one of the safest in the world. As North America’s safest city, you can expect lower levels of crime, both violent and non-violent, but lower doesn’t mean non-existent.
Most types of crime have seen a downward trend, but it’s not like crime is obsolete in Toronto. While this shouldn’t be enough to scare you away,
Sadly, like all cities, Toronto has its own dangers. The city is filled to the brim with strangers and you don’t know what they may do. That’s why it’s important to be proactive and avoid risky situations or settings.
If you decide to visit or move to Toronto, use our guide and follow our tips to help avoid potential dangers. Stay safe!