Is Ottawa Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On November 7, 2023
Ottawa, Canada
Safety Index:
* Based on Research & Crime Data
User Sentiment:
* Rated 71 / 100 based on 7 user reviews.

Ottawa is the capital city of Canada.

It stands on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of southern Ontario.

The city is bilingual.

English is the first language of a majority of the population, but French is the first language of a significant number.

Travelers come here to visit many national museums and galleries in Ottawa.

Interesting places to visit are also: Parliament Hill, the Rideau Canal (Ontario’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site), and Ottawa River for capturing stunning sunset views year-round.

The Ottawa River is a great place for water activities.

Enjoy whitewater adventures like an urban rafting excursion.

Warnings & Dangers in Ottawa

Overall Risk


Ottawa is one of the safest places on the planet, however, minor robberies are possible. You must be especially careful if traveling in winter - the cold here is really an issue.

Transport & Taxis Risk


Taxis are completely safe, at night it is better to use this particular mode of transport. Public transport is quite convenient and safe, but there are cases of robbery. Be careful.

Pickpockets Risk


Pickpocket risk happens in public transport and in tourist places. Keep track of your pockets.

Natural Disasters Risk


This region has a high risk of avalanches, earthquakes, hurricanes, and landslides. Discover information about the current situation before your visit.

Mugging Risk


In some neighborhood areas of the city, the possibilities of mugging exist, so tourists are advised not to walk through certain risky zones, especially after midnight.

Terrorism Risk


The threat of terrorism is unlikely here. But anyone should be watchful and cautioned.

Scams Risk


Scams in Ottawa are very rare. However, safety precautions are always advisable.

Women Travelers Risk


Normally, women are generally safe in Ottawa. Be cautioned in public transport at night. Use common sense while getting around Ottawa.

So... How Safe Is Ottawa Really?

Ottawa is a very safe place to live and visit.

The index of crime here is very low.

With having normal common sense you won’t meet a real problem here.

Despite many tourists in the city, especially in summer, there are very few incidents of robbery or assault.

But in public transport, there may be issues with violence and robberies, even during daytime hours.

But police work excellent here and in many public transport video cameras are present.

Ottawa has a notoriously bad homeless problem.

Beggars are often not at all aggressive.

The other troubles it’s a very cold winter.

Ottawa is the fourth coldest capital city by annual average temperature, but it has the second place with the coldest January.

Traffic can become a pretty big issue for some, especially it is bad weather conditions on the road.

It is necessary to exercise caution with strangers – the city is quite safe, but minor crimes are quite possible.

Do not leave valuables in the car, lock it when you leave.

If you travel to Ottawa in the winter, be sure to take good protection from the cold, this can really screw up your trip if you don’t get warm enough.

How Does Ottawa Compare?

CitySafety Index
Niagara Falls87
Quebec City85
Sao Paulo (Brazil)45
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43
Sofia (Bulgaria)73
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)61
Santiago de Chile (Chile)71

Useful Information



A visa to enter Canada for tourists that stay less than 180 days is not obligatory for certain nationalities and that can be checked online. A valid passport is a must.



The official currency in Canada is the Canadian dollar. The Canadian dollar has a symbol: $ and code: CAD. It is divided into 100 cents.



The best times to visit Ottawa for ideal weather are from mid-May to October. The average temperatures in Ottawa vary great. The weather feels cold for about half of the year and otherwise nice with a chance of rain or snow throughout most of the year.



Ottawa/Macdonald–Cartier International Airport is an international airport named after the Canadian statesmen and two of the "founding fathers of Canada", Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir George-Étienne Cartier. Located in 10 km south of downtown Ottawa.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

The travel insurance policy is a must when visiting a foreign country. Make sure you got it before starting your journey, the customs officer may ask for it.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Ottawa Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan -10° C
Feb -9° C
Mar -3° C
Apr 6° C
May 14° C
Jun 19° C
Jul 22° C
Aug 20° C
Sep 16° C
Oct 9° C
Nov 2° C
Dec -6° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

Canada - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Niagara Falls87
Quebec City85
Red Deer32
Thunder Bay65

Where to Next?

7 Reviews on Ottawa

  1. Questionable review of Ottawa

    Who wrote this review? Risk of avalanches and hurricanes in Ottawa? Makes me question the credibility of all your reviews.

  2. Need an updated Review

    yeah I’m from Ottawa, whoever wrote this review is pulling your leg. Avalanches? Hurricanes? Landslides? There is no way. The only time we have experienced something out of the ordinary in the past 20 years was a 5.0 magnitude earthquake (back in 2010), and a handful of small tornadoes.

    As a young woman there are a few times when I feel uncomfortable taking the bus, but that’s only at night. During the day it’s fine, and now that we have the O-train you have even more options. If you’re traveling in a group you absolutely won’t have any problems.

    Ottawa is a fine city! Lots to do and see, you should not feel worried about coming here, it’s super safe.

  3. Overall risk of low is accurate

    I’ve lived here since the 70s. Same comment as the others here. No way Ottawa has avalanches (seriously, did the writer actually visit Ottawa?) Natural disasters are not very common, however spring flooding along rivers is a real issue for homeowners there. They got winter weather right though. If you’re not used to very cold weather, Ottawa can be a surprise. BRING PROPER WINTER CLOTHING. If you need to drive, or get to the airport in a snowstorm (or freezing rain), plan for extra travel time. Summer can be hotter and more humid than you’d expect. Crime is generally OK and the city is considered safe. Visit for an idea of the types of crime. Yes some homelessness, drug and property crime can be an issue (home break ins and car theft). Use common sense as you would anywhere and you will find it very safe here.

  4. K
    Kent Boyd says:

    Visited in the Winter

    We visited Ottawa in February 2017. We live in Texas and chose to visit Ottawa to truly “experience winter”. It was a wonderful experience. We attended Winterlude, skated on the canal and attended two Senators hockey games. In addition, we experienced several other locations in the city. People were friendly and very welcoming. We felt safe basically everywhere we went, day or night. I highly recommend Ottawa.

  5. A
    Anonymous says:

    Avalanches? Just because this is Canada doesn’t mean every city is surrounded by mountains…

  6. Inaccurate, other than safety

    The author probably did not visit Ottawa. Here, all the natural disasters the author wrote is rare here. The common disaster is Blizzard. Ottawa is a very cold capital in the winter, so that is what I would worry about, and the blizzard, I also worry about that. But overall, it is very safe.

  7. A
    Anonymous says:

    Inaccurate safety take by Travelsafe (It's FAR safer)

    Ottawa resident my entire life of 25 years. Avalanches and landslides??? You’re pulling my leg mate. We get tornadoes sometimes, never avalanches. I could see there being a landslide risk in some area, but I’ve never heard of it in the news. Most common things would be blizzards or freezing rain storms. Hurricanes don’t get this far. Mugging on public transit? I’ve been using public transit for well over 10 years and I’ve never experienced this; I’d go as far as to say that I’ve forgotten my wallet and phone on the bus multiple times and I’ve been lucky enough to have all of those things come back to me. Not to say that this would always be the case, but if you’re someone coming to visit Ottawa this definitely should be one of your last concerns, or a non-factor whatsoever. Maybe if you’re riding the buses in sketchier areas of Ottawa like the Vanier stretch or something like that. That’s just my guess though, I don’t ride on those buses. The last earthquake we even had in Ottawa was sometime in 2009 or 2010, and it was a 5.0? I just remember being in my classroom when it happened. I don’t think about them. If you’re someone who’s looking to visit Ottawa and concerned about safety, rest assured. Ottawa is easily one of Canada’s safest cities, should even be much higher on this sites index imo.

Ottawa Rated 3.57 / 5 based on 7 user reviews.

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