You could call me a Southwestern Ontario guy. I grew up in Windsor and decided to start my family there, and I work in Chatham. However, I recently moved back to London, 10 years after graduating from Western University.
When my wife and I were deciding whether or not to move here, we asked ourselves “Is London, Ontario a good place to live?”, and “Is London a safe place to raise a family?”. Even though we had both lived here before, those are the questions that run through everyone’s minds before moving.
We obviously decided that the answer to those questions was yes.
Even though I firmly believe that London is a safe place to live, I understand that each person is entitled to their own opinion, based on their level of comfort. While the statistics may say one thing, people will interpret them very differently.
Understanding Crime in London Ontario
Canada and Ontario
Let’s first look at crime within the Canadian context:
Overall, the property crime rate in Canada has decreased significantly since the early 2000s - about 37% from the height in 2003 to 2018. Many attribute this to advancements in anti-theft technology.
Over the past few years, there has been a 7% increase in property crime from the low in 2014 to 2018. But comparatively to where it once was, the numbers are still low.
When talking about property crime, one of the main factors to consider is break and enters, previously known as burglary.
Within Ontario, the 2018 rate of total break and enters per 100,000 population was 319.32. This was a 9.17% increase since the 2014 rate of 292.50 per 100,000 people.
London’s 2018 rate of total break and enters per 100,000 population was 461.73. At first glance, that seems like a big gap to the provincial standard.
However, to add context, Pembroke, Ontario, #11 on Maclean’s list of Canada’s Most Dangerous Places, and the highest rated in Ontario, scored almost 700 per 100,000 population.
Statistics Canada ranks crime based on the Crime Severity Index (CSI). The CSI of a city measures the volume and seriousness of the crimes committed. The more serious the crime, the higher the weight on the index. Maclean’s takes these statistics and creates Canada’s Most Dangerous and Safest Places lists.
London ranks 157th out of 237 communities on Canada’s Safest Places list, with a CSI of 83.74. The breakdown of that CSI is:
- Homicide rate per 100,000 people: 1.45
- Breaking and entering rate per 100,000 people: 461.73
- Assault level 1 rate per 100,000 people: 378.83
I’ll be honest, the statistics don’t put London in the category of “safest cities”. However, they are by no means terrible. To provide context: the worst-rated city in Canada, North Battleford, Saskatchewan, has a score of 385 on the CSI:
- Homicide rate per 100,000 people: 0
- Breaking and entering rate per 100,000 people: 2050
- Assault level 1 rate per 100,000 people: 1946.12
London ranks about 10 points and 20 points lower than the provincial and national average CSIs for violent crime, respectively. Looking at the broader Middlesex area, Thames Centre ranks first for least amount of violent crime.
What are you comfortable with?
As I mentioned, each person will interpret these statistics differently. Depending on what you’re comfortable with, you could decide that London is one of the safest cities.
For us, we knew that the statistics represent London as a whole, and that we should research individual neighbourhoods.
Taking a look at a London crime map, you can see crime trends in the area. Like many cities, crime is concentrated more heavily in certain regions. We knew which ones were lower on our list, based on the map. On the other hand, specific neighbourhoods, like Byron, Riverbend or Masonville are often described as the best places to raise kids in the city.
Other than choosing a good neighbourhood, we also knew that there are tangible, effective ways to protect our home and family against crime in any neighbourhood.
How to Protect Your London Property from Crime
- Educate Yourself: Reading this article is a good first start. You can make it a habit to check the London crime map to have a better understanding of crime in the area. The London Police Service provides an extensive list of resources with regards to home safety. You can also check out the London Crime Stoppers for information on specific unsolved crimes.
- Identify Vulnerabilities: Using a home security assessment, conduct an audit of your home and property to identify areas that could be more susceptible to crime or disorder. Without a guide, it is easy to miss unexpected problem areas such as locks or landscaping. We like to recommend taking the kids on a “Think Like a Burglar” tour of the house to identify these vulnerabilities.
- Protect Your Home: To start, we offer five easy steps to protect your home against intrusion. Many people wrongly assume that home security needs to be high-tech and expensive. While there are many options available for every different budget, there are a number of easy and free steps to take to protect your home.
- Get a Security System: For anyone who doesn’t know, a security system is a set of objects working together that keeps you, and your valuables (family, assets, business) safe. A monitored security system specifically keeps track of your home/property and sends real time updates to your phone as events occur. If you’re curious about the nitty gritty details of what a security system really does, you can check out our blog.
- Know Your Neighbours: This is one of the most common tips for community safety. Sadly, 64% of millennials feel disconnected from their local community and 1 in 5 don’t know anyone in their neighbourhood. Knowing your neighbours’ patterns can help you to identify when something isn’t right. It also makes everyone in the community more likely to step up for each other when there are close relationships.
Overall, London is a great place to live, and I firmly believe that it is a safe place to live. I love raising my kids here, working here and living here. Hopefully you will too!
Contact us if you have questions about home or community safety in London, Ontario.