Safe Toronto

According to a report released yesterday by Statistics Canada, Toronto’s overall crime rate fell 11% last year making it the lowest crime rate among cities with over 500,000 people in Canada. The total number of homicides has increased, however, to a total of 111 last year, making it 2/100,000 which is still below the national average of 3.5. Unfortunately, the perception in the rest of the country is still that Toronto is somehow more violent – yesterday, the Montreal Gazette published the same report by concluding that “Toronto is the murder capital of Canada.”

Barcelona is NOT a war zone

In about two weeks, Alan and I will be going back to Barcelona for a month. Of course, for us, visiting Barcelona is not quite living any other foreign destination – we lived there and Alan still fondly refers to it as “home”. But still, I like roaming through travel forums to read about other people’s recent trips, what they saw, what they did. Inevitably, they share their impressions and these can be either positive or negative. While I enjoy reading about other people’s experiences, I also get very frustrated with human beings’ (natural?) propensity to generalize, essentialize, and misunderstand a culture not their own. We have all heard of Parisian waiters’ fame for being surly and rude, which is nothing but a stereotype. In forums about Barcelona, people tend to focus on two issues: crime in Barcelona and the rudeness of the Catalan people.  Because I got tired of trying to dispel some of these notions, or at least to put them in perspective, in the sites I belong to, I decided it was about time I got it out of my system here.
Continue reading “Barcelona is NOT a war zone”

Canadian crime rate

Maclean’s has published the crime statistics and rankings for 2006. Looks like Western Canada has the most crime, and if it weren’t for Halifax rocking the boat a bit, the East would have had nearly a clean bill. Toronto came out 26th on overall crime score (with 1 being the worst), showing that bigger cities are not always the most unsafe places. You can check out the article here. Here’s a sample of the list but check the Maclean’s site for the full version: