Safest Neighbourhoods in Calgary
How safety and crime stats factor into our Best Neighbourhoods rankings.
photograph courtesy of The Rod Forsythe Group
It goes without saying that safety is important when considering somewhere to live. But just how important is it, and how does it balance with other characteristics of a good neighbourhood?
This year, as in most of the past years, low crime was identified in the Best Neighbourhoods survey as one of the most important characteristics of a good neighbourhood to live in. The only characteristic that ranked higher was access to parks and pathways.
However, the safest communities often don’t do that well on our list. That’s because other amenities that people want — namely bars, restaurants, transit access, schools and even parks — are often correlated with higher crime.
In fact, you have to go down to the 11th-safest community before you find one of our overall top 10 communities (Edgemont, which ranked third overall). Our overall best community for 2017, Varsity, had the 59th-lowest crime rate in Calgary, which puts it just inside the top 30 per cent for safety of the 185 communities included in our rankings.
“It’s not disproportionate to the number of people there,” says Ryan Ayliffe, District 1 inspector with the Calgary Police Service (CPS). “If you want to be close to exciting things and live in a neighbourhood where other Calgarians spend their time, there may be more traffic and more crime. But we can make those high-volume spaces very safe. We work with communities to make them safer and more vibrant through urban design, street design, community engagement and deployment.”
Our second-ranked community, Beltline, was 180th out of 185 for crime. The Beltline is part of CPS’s District 1, which also includes the inner-city neighbourhoods south and west of the Bow River, east of 14th Street and north of Glenmore Trail. The Calgary Police Service recorded 9,632 total crimes in the Beltline between September 2015 and September 2016, giving the neighbourhood a crime rate of 438.66 per 1,000 residents. Further to that, the neighbourhood with the highest crime rate, the Downtown Commercial Core, still was able to rank ninth overall because of all the other amenities it offers, including walkability, shopping, restaurants and, yes, parks and pathways.
Areas with high crime rates are also the areas with high CPS officer and resource deployment, Ayliffe says. “We have a police service that is able to respond not only reactively, but also to prevent crime. The city of Calgary is really safe. There aren’t any neighbourhoods I wouldn’t want my family to be in.”
Neighbourhoods with the lowest crime rates
September 2015 to September 2016