100-222 Somerset St. W. Ottawa, ON K2P 0A7

Ottawa Blog

Living in Ottawa


Play Video


The majestic city of Ottawa is a harmonious blend of culture, history, and politics. However, like any urban centre, it has its fair share of safe havens and not-so-friendly streets. Fret not, for we have scoured the crime stats from the Ottawa Police Service to present you with a guide to the top 5 areas with the highest crime rates. Hold on to your maple syrup, folks, as we embark on a journey through Ottawa, uncovering the hidden areas you should know about. Whether you’re already living in this picturesque Canadian city, or planning to move here soon, worry not – we’ve got your back when moving to Ottawa.

Delving into the latest insights on crime trends in Ottawa, we referred to the most recent data available – which was The Ottawa Police Service’s 2021 Annual Report. This comprehensive document provides an in-depth analysis of crimes occurring in all 23 wards across the city, offering valuable information on the safety landscape in Ottawa.

Although the report is usually released in the middle of the year, and as such the most recent data for 2022 won’t be available until June or July of this year. In lieu of this information, we understand the importance of staying up-to-date, and we plan to create an updated video discussing the 2022 survey results once they are published. But for now, for people currently considering relocation to Ottawa, giving them the accurate and recent crime statistics at hand can greatly assist in making an informed decision for their families when moving here or moving across town.

Crime in Ottawa

Before delving into the specifics of Ottawa’s crime statistics, it is important to establish some context for these figures. When compared to other Canadian cities and smaller towns, Ottawa fares quite well, as evidenced and reported by the Canada Crime Index rankings for 2021. The CSI is a valuable tool that gauges the severity level of police-reported crime in a particular area, taking into account not only the prevalence of crime in a community but also the severity of the crimes themselves. This approach allows for a more comprehensive understanding of the impact that crime has on individuals living within the community, their families, and the community overall. This broader perspective highlights that Ottawa is in a relatively good position in terms of crime, making it an essential point to consider when analyzing crime-related data for the city.

According to the Canada Crime Index, Ottawa, the fourth-largest city in Canada, is notable for more than just its status as the nation’s capital. When considering population size, Ottawa emerges as a unique city amongst its fellow major metro areas across the country. In a ranking of the 35 largest by population size from coast to coast, Ottawa sits at number 33 – with only Quebec City and Durham Region outpacing it. While Quebec City boasts a population of 733,156 and Durham Region is home to 335,949 people, Ottawa’s population reaches an impressive 1,017,449. This fascinating fact reveals Ottawa as a distinctive location where residents can experience the charm of a smaller city while still enjoying the many benefits that come with living in a bustling, influential and yet relatively safe capital.

In regard to actual violent crimes, it is impressive to note that Ottawa, with a population of over a million, emerges as one of the safest cities in Canada. Among the 35 largest metropolitan areas in the nation, Ottawa is ranked 33 out of the largest population areas of 35, showcasing its relatively low levels of such crimes. Only the Niagara Region, specifically St. Catharines, with a population of 140,370, and the Durham Region, having a population of 335,949, have witnessed fewer incidents of violent crimes than Ottawa in the top 35 largest by population areas.

We’ll leave a link below in the video description to help with your own research.


In 2021, the city of Ottawa experienced an increase in crime rates—approximately 36,260 Criminal Code of Canada offences that year, marking an eight per cent rise from the previous year. Among these, 7,116 were classified as violent crimes, while the remaining 29,146 were non-violent in nature. With a crime rate of 3,510.7 per 100,000 people, that’s a 6.8 per cent surge compared to 2020 stats.

While it’s important to acknowledge that a ward with a higher crime rate in a low-crime city like Ottawa may initially raise concerns, it’s crucial to remember that one bad apple doesn’t spoil the whole basket. Crime rates can often be influenced by various factors and may not necessarily represent the overall quality of the area. When evaluating these ratings and rankings, be sure to consider them with a healthy dose of scepticism and maintain an open mind. There is often a lot of good to be found even in places with higher crime rates, and an area’s true character cannot be determined solely by its crime statistics. By focusing on the positives and potential improvement opportunities, we can foster a more inclusive and compassionate perspective of our communities.

#5 – Alta Vista

4,084.6 crimes/100,000 population

In 2021, Alta Vista Ward (Ward 18) saw 4,084.6 crimes per 100,000 population – ranking it as the 5th highest crime area in terms of crime rates in the city. The historical evolution of the Alta Vista Ward in Ottawa reveals a dynamic development responding to population growth and urban expansion.

Originating prior to the 1966 election, when Gloucester Ward was divided due to the increasing number of residents in the area, Alta Vista Ward was initially overseen by two council members or aldermen. In 1980, further division took place, resulting in the creation of Canterbury Ward from the eastern portion of Alta Vista. It wasn’t until 1994 that these two wards were once again united, forming the Alta Vista-Canterbury Ward; on a regional council level, however, this area maintained the title of Alta Vista Ward. As we entered the new millennium, the name was ultimately simplified to “Alta Vista” in 2000.

Nestled in the southeastern end of Ottawa lies a diverse and thriving ward that covers a wide range of neighbourhoods, including Eastway Gardens, Riverview, Alta Vista, Heron Gate, and Sheffield Glen. With a captivating history, the ward was almost named “Alta Vista-Canterbury-Riverview” in 1997, a name still utilized by local candidates for promotional purposes. Spread across an expansive area of 20.3 km2, the ward supports a vibrant community of residents calling the region home. In anticipation of the 2006 election, there was a minor but noteworthy boundary change, with the boundary now tracing Highway 417 as opposed to the old city limits from Walkley, heading north to the CPR right-of-way. This dynamic ward plays an important role in Ottawa’s landscape, representing the beautiful and varied neighbourhoods within its boundaries.

#4 – Rideau-Rockcliffe Ward

4,241.5 crimes/100,000 population

Rideau-Rockcliffe, also known as Ward 13 is ranked fourth among Ottawa’s areas with the highest crime rates as per the Ottawa Police Service. There were 4,241.5 offences per 100,000 population recorded. Nestled in Ottawa’s east end, Rideau-Rockcliffe is composed of several diverse neighbourhoods, including New Edinburgh, Manor Park, Rockcliffe Park, Wateridge Village, Overbrook, Lindenlea, Viscount Alexander Park, Carson Meadows, Cardinal Glen, Rockcliffe Mews, Forbes, Castle Heights, and parts of Carson Grove.

The history of Rideau Ward can be traced back to the late 19th century when it was part of the area that was annexed by Ottawa from New Edinburgh in 1887. With its unique name, Rideau Ward has been associated with this region for over a century. The significance of the ward became apparent during the 1887 municipal elections, marking its first appearance as New Edinburgh Ward. Interestingly, the same name was used again in the subsequent 1888 elections, highlighting its relevance in the region’s political landscape. Fast forward to 1994, the modern-day Rideau Ward was formed through the amalgamation of Overbrook-Forbes Ward and part of By-Rideau Ward. This fascinating historical journey showcases the evolution and importance of the Rideau Ward to Ottawa’s municipal politics and governance.

#3 – Capital Ward

4,413.5 crimes/100,000 population

Meanwhile, the Capital Ward experienced an increase, with 1,712 crimes reported in 2021 versus 1,541 in 2020. This data emphasizes the importance of continued efforts in analyzing trends and addressing the factors contributing to criminal activities in these communities, ensuring public safety and well-being for all residents.

Nestled in the heart of Canada’s bustling capital city, Ottawa’s historic Capital Ward, or Ward 17, serves as a vibrant testament to its rich past and promising future. With its inception dating back to 1909, forged from the Wellington and Central wards to accommodate the newly settled Glebe community, Capital Ward boasts a long-standing legacy in the Ottawa landscape. As it has evolved, it has steadily absorbed the charm and spirit of neighbouring communities like Old Ottawa South, Old Ottawa East, Heron Park, Riverside and even Carleton University. Today, this centrally located ward not only encompasses a diverse range of thriving communities but also serves as a living, breathing embodiment of Ottawa’s ongoing growth and development.

#2 – Rideau Vanier Ward

11,165.9 crimes/100,000 population

However, in contrast, Rideau Vanier reported a slight decrease in crime, with 5,593 crimes in 2021 compared to 5,783 in 2020. Established in 1994, Rideau-Vanier Ward is an integral part of the city of Ottawa. Represented by City Council’s Ward 12, this ward originally served on Regional Council and continues to be a vital area for effective governance today. The area covers the neighbourhoods of ByWard Market, Sandy Hill, Lower Town, Vanier North and Vanier South.

Nestled along the bank of the Rideau River, the Rideau-Vanier ward of Ottawa offers residents an eclectic insight into the city’s rich cultural heritage and vibrant lifestyle. Daily life in this charming community is brimming with opportunities to enjoy its wide array of local businesses, arts, dining experiences, and picturesque outdoor spaces. Many residents take delight in exploring the nearby bustling historic ByWard Market, where local artisans, vendors, and live entertainment create a unique and inviting atmosphere. The residential areas reflect the diversity and character of its inhabitants, boasting a delightful blend of architectural styles and green spaces. The ward is also home to various educational institutions, which lend to a stimulating environment for students and educators alike. A distinct sense of community pride and engagement permeates the Rideau-Vanier ward, making daily life a truly enjoyable experience for those who call this area home.

#1 – Somerset Ward

15,496.3 crimes/100,000 population

Delving into the city’s statistics further, the highest crime rate was found in the ward of Somerset, reaching 15,496.3 crimes per 100,000 people. Following behind was Rideau Vanier with 11,165.9 crimes per 100,000 people, and Capital Ward with 4,413.5 crimes per 100,000 people.

The recent 2020-2021 Crime Trends report sheds light on the shifting crime patterns in certain wards, with Somerset Ward witnessing a notable increase in reported crimes. In 2021, there were 6,448 reported crimes in Somerset, a significant jump from the 5,261 reported in 2020. According to police data, the breakdown for Somerset includes 842 violent crimes and 5,606 non-violent crimes.

Somerset Ward is nestled in the heart of Ottawa and serves as a bustling hub of city life, accommodating some of the most dynamic neighbourhoods including Downtown Ottawa, Centretown, Lebreton Flats, and a large portion of Centretown West. Notably, Somerset is the smallest and most densely populated ward in the city, with its 6.5 square kilometres being home to a projected 41,569 residents as per City of Ottawa 2016 Census – Ward Profiles. As a result of the 1994 merger between the Dalhousie and Wellington Wards, Somerset is represented on the Ottawa City Council by Ariel Troster, working diligently to cater to the diverse needs of the energetic population that calls this urban pocket home.

CrimeS rates in Ottawa

  1. Somerset – 15,496.3 crimes/100,000 population
  2. Rideau Vanier – 11,165.9 crimes/100,000 population
  3. Capital – 4,413.5 crimes/100,000 population
  4. Rideau-Rockcliffe – 4,241.5 crimes/100,000 population
  5. Alta Vista – 4,084.6 crimes/100,000 population

MacLean’s Magazine, a reputable Canadian publication under St. Joseph’s Media, is known for releasing an annual report on Canada’s Most Dangerous Places. Despite not updating the rankings since 2020, the report offers valuable insight into the safety of various Canadian communities. The basis of these rankings lies in the Crime Severity Index (CSI), a measure developed by Statistics Canada. CSI takes into account not only the volume but also the severity of all police-reported crimes.

Using the most recent data available from 2018, which was released on July 23, 2019, MacLean’s Magazine evaluated 237 communities across the country. While Ottawa holds a safety ranking of 107, a much lower crime ranking than the other major cities like Toronto at 39, Vancouver at 59, Montreal at 63, Winnipeg at 13, Edmonton at 25 and Calgary at 71.

In the bustling landscape of modern cities, it’s essential to find a place that offers a harmonious blend of culture, economy, and security for families to thrive. Ottawa acclaimed for its multiculturalism and stable economy, has emerged as a top choice for many who are seeking a high quality of life amidst the challenges faced by urban centres. The city’s natural beauty and great educational offerings further contribute to its appeal, cultivating a supportive atmosphere that promotes individual development and fulfilment. Perhaps most importantly, Ottawa’s impressive safety record sets it apart from other major Canadian areas, as residents enjoy lower crime rates and a reliable sense of security. With a diverse community and a steadfast commitment to well-being, Ottawa certainly has a lot to offer the relocating family.

And speaking of relocating, if you are thinking of moving to Ottawa feel free to reach out to us. Give us a call – shoot us a text – send us an email – or even wrap it in a bow and send it first class because we got your back when moving to Ottawa or anywhere across Canada. And each and every week we are bringing brand new videos just like this one so make sure to tap that subscribe button and click the bell so you are notified each and every time we drop a brand new video. Until next time – take care!}




Looking to relocate to Ottawa?
We Can Help!

Learn More About Living in Ottawa

Privacy Preferences
When you visit our website, it may store information through your browser from specific services, usually in form of cookies. Here you can change your privacy preferences. Please note that blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience on our website and the services we offer.