Is Nanaimo Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On November 22, 2023
Nanaimo, Canada
Safety Index:
* Based on Research & Crime Data

The beauty of the sandy beaches, the shoreline, and the sheltered islands, are some reasons that Aboriginal people chose to settle in Nanaimo, Canada.

The Snunéymuxw, who were Coast Salish people, also settled in the area because of the availability of fresh water, shelter for the cold winters, and an abundance of food.

They built the first structures in Nanaimo.

Europeans migrated to the area for the same reasons that the original people settled in Nanaimo.

The abundance of natural resources, including the discovery of coal, turned the city into an important port city.

Nanaimo was incorporated in 1864.

The city planning and architecture emphasize the natural beauty and the business district.

Travelers can still see many of the original buildings and grand homes.

Tourism is a major industry for Nanaimo today, as are shipping, commercial, and industrial industries.

Visitors and residents enjoy the many cultural and recreational amenities.

It is important for travelers to know safety tips, the places that are safe to visit, and other useful information.

Warnings & Dangers in Nanaimo

Overall Risk


Nanaimo has some neighborhoods where more crime and safety risks occur, the same as most cities. The main risk for travelers is the overall high crime rate, including violent crimes. The Nanaimo News Bulletin reported in August 2022 that the overall violent crime statistics were up by 44 percent, compared to the 2021 statistics. Nanaimo has a grade of “F” from Area Vibes for its overall crime rate. Some crime has decreased, which may make visitors safer when they visit Nanaimo.

Transport & Taxis Risk


Nanaimo is becoming more popular as a tourist area. The city has many ways for people to travel around the city, and to get to nearby areas. Travelers often choose to ride in a taxi. The taxis are safe when you hire an authorized, reputable taxi company. Some visitors choose other means of transportation. Use a reputable ride-share company if you choose this means of getting around Nanaimo. Taxis and ride-share companies provide information about their drivers so that customers know who is picking them up for their ride. Do not get in an unmarked vehicle, or if the driver’s appearance does not match the provided photo.

Pickpockets Risk


An article in the Southwest Journal lists Nanaimo as number 10 on its 2023 list of the 30 Most Dangerous Cities in Canada. One reason that Nanaimo ranks so high is the increase in petty crimes. Visitors to Nanaimo need to be aware of who is near them so that they do not become victims of pickpockets. Do not make yourself an easy target for criminals committing petty crimes.

Natural Disasters Risk


The City of Nanaimo realizes that there are several risks for hazards occurring in and around the city. Nanaimo's government officials measure the risks of climate-driven and geophysical natural disasters by using a process called the Hazard, Risk, Vulnerability Assessment (HRVA). It measures how likely it is for a disaster to occur, and how damaging the disaster may be to Nanaimo. Earthquakes are a high risk for Nanaimo. Windstorms are also a risk for the Harbour City.

Mugging Risk


Nanaimo ranked third in a list published by Maclean’s Magazine in 2017 that named the most dangerous places to live. People have a high risk of becoming a crime victim when they live in or visit Nanaimo, including becoming a victim of mugging. Follow precautions to protect yourself from criminals in the city and on all of Vancouver Island.

Terrorism Risk


Canada is always on high alert for the threat of terrorist activities, including in Nanaimo. Arrests have been made in the area that were related to people who repatriated in Canada after their release from certain refugee camps abroad. The country also recently tracked the financing of terrorist groups and activities in Canada. The financial intelligence agency in Canada indicates that sponsored financing of terrorism included money laundering, money services transactions, casino activities, and other financial dealings.

Scams Risk


Many people fall victim to scammers. The types of scams that occur in Nanaimo vary, ranging from scammers who target the elderly and other vulnerable people, to scammers who target travelers. Most fraudulent or spoofed phone calls come from people who are outside Canada. Government officials, law enforcement officers, or bank presidents do not call to ask for account numbers or social security numbers. Do not give money or personal information to anyone in Nanaimo who does not need it. Do not purchase gift cards from individuals. Authorities warn residents and visitors to Nanaimo that scams happen every day. Be watchful of the signs.

Women Travelers Risk


The number of reported sexual assaults recently decreased, according to the year-over-year crime statistics. The number of sexual assaults that occur in Nanaimo is 27 percent lower than the national average. The decrease in crimes against women does not mean that women should let their guard down, especially women travelers.

Tap Water Risk


The tap water in Nanaimo is safe for residents and visitors to drink. The city regularly monitors and tests the underground aquifer system that it uses as Nanaimo’s primary source of drinking water. A rigorous treatment process helps to ensure the safety of the city’s tap water. The treatment process involves several steps. Those steps include coagulation, sedimentation, filtration, and finally, disinfection.

Safest Places to Visit in Nanaimo

Nanaimo is a vibrant city that offers visitors many things to see and do.

Some of the safest places to visit provide memories for visitors who have a variety of interests.

The city is known for the beauty of its beaches and waters.

Enjoy a day at the beach, soaking in the sun, or enjoying freshwater swimming at Long Lake or Westwood Lake.

Go windsurfing or snorkeling to explore the incredible sea life.

Climb to the peak of Mount Benson or go zip-lining or bungee jumping.

Visit the North Island Wildlife Recovery Center.

Book a whale-watching tour or visit the Nanaimo Museum.

Enjoy fine dining, eating at a casual restaurant, or visiting a local coffee house.

Nanaimo also has many options for enjoying the area’s nightlife.

Places to Avoid in Nanaimo

Travelers who visit Nanaimo have many options for exploring the city.

There are also places that visitors should avoid in Nanaimo.

The most dangerous neighborhood in Nanaimo, according to the 2023 Area Vibes list, is Nob Hill.

The crime rate in Nob Hill is 39 percent higher than the overall Nanaimo crime rate.

Rosehill has just over 500 residents.

The neighborhood has 37 percent more crime than the overall crime rate in Nanaimo.

Visitors should not venture onto any trails or in neighborhoods where there are not a lot of people.

Travelers to Nanaimo should not leave any attraction, restaurant, or bar with anyone that they do not know.

Call a reputable taxi company or a ride-share company for a ride.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Nanaimo

  1. Check hotel ratings and location before booking a room. Make sure that the hotel where you book a room is not in a neighborhood that is known to have a high crime rate. Check the hotel ratings before you book a room.
  2. Make sure that you have your own credit card after transactions. Some scams and other crimes involve credit card theft. Make sure that you get your own card back after paying at a restaurant, bar, shop, attraction, or for a taxi or ferry ride.
  3. Stay away from unsafe neighborhoods. Avoid unsafe neighborhoods, even if the area has some interesting sites or things to do. You risk becoming a crime victim.
  4. Do not walk or bike alone. Stay on the trails or bike paths to protect yourself. Many parks and trails have a lot of visitors. Choose these parks and open spaces, not secluded ones.
  5. Be careful if you go on an island-hopping adventure. Many people go on an island hop to visit other islands close to Nanaimo. Do not go on one of these adventures by yourself. Stay with your tour group. You do not want to get stranded away from Nanaimo or become a target for criminals or scammers.
  6. Watch for impaired drivers. Impaired drivers are an issue for police, residents, and visitors in Nanaimo. Watch carefully before you cross any street, or if you are driving, in case an impaired driver is on the road. The number of impaired driving offenses recently increased and is now 32 percent higher than the national average.
  7. Do not carry large sums of cash on you. Avoid carrying large sums of cash when traveling in Nanaimo. Take only what you think that you need when visiting attractions, going to restaurants or events.
  8. Stay aware of your surroundings and other people. Be vigilant in protecting yourself when visiting Nanaimo. Stay aware of your surroundings. Make sure that no one follows you to your hotel or while you are walking or visiting Nanaimo attractions.
  9. Keep your purse and wallet safe. Do not put your wallet in your back pocket. Do not carry your purse in your hand or over your arm. Keep your wallet in an inside jacket pocket. Carry your purse in cross-body fashion or over your shoulder to lower your risk of becoming a mugging victim or pickpocket victim.
  10. Obey the laws when in Nanaimo. Do not commit any crimes when visiting Nanaimo. Your tour group, taxi, or ferry will likely not wait for you to be released from law enforcement officers or jail.

So... How Safe Is Nanaimo Really?

The crime rate for violent crimes has increased over the past couple of years.

Visitors who follow safety precautions, such as staying with their group, and staying in safe areas, will likely have a memorable experience when they visit Nanaimo.

Some crimes, such as the number of firearms offenses, are on the decline.

The number of firearms offenses is 23 percent lower than the national average.

The number of drug offenses is more than 80 percent lower than the national average.

Visiting attractions, shops, restaurants and bars that are in safe, well-lit areas likely reduces the likelihood of travelers becoming crime victims.

How Does Nanaimo Compare?

CitySafety Index
Niagara Falls87
Quebec City85
La Paz (Bolivia)52
Sao Paulo (Brazil)45
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43
Sofia (Bulgaria)73
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)61

Useful Information



The documents that a person needs when applying for a visa to visit Canada depend on the reason that the person is traveling to Canada. Tourists must provide a passport and family information for every family member traveling with them. Create an online account. Upload the required documents. Pay the $100 Canadian fee with one of the accepted credit cards.



The Canadian currency is the Canadian Dollar. Conversions are based on the daily exchange rates. The Bank of Canada publishes the exchange rates on each business day. Nanaimo's visitors can check the site for the daily exchange rate, which is published by 16:30 ET.



Coastal British Columbia often has warm and dry summers, and milder winters, compared to some other areas of Canada. Most precipitation falls between October and February. Visitors should check the weather forecast for each day that they plan to stay in Nanaimo. Travelers should pack according to the time of year and the expected daily temperatures.



Nanaimo Airport is a privately owned and privately operated regional airport. It is the airport that connects Nanaimo and the rest of Vancouver Island to other areas around the globe. The airport is located about eight miles from Nanaimo.

Travel Insurance

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Purchasing travel insurance protects travelers, including visitors to Nanaimo. Compare plans and get a quote before purchasing traveler’s insurance.

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Nanaimo Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 4° C
Feb 5° C
Mar 7° C
Apr 9° C
May 12° C
Jun 16° C
Jul 18° C
Aug 18° C
Sep 15° C
Oct 10° C
Nov 6° C
Dec 4° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

Canada - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Niagara Falls87
Quebec City85
Red Deer32
Thunder Bay65

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