Manitoba and Winnipeg continue to lead Canada in terms of homicide rates in the provinces and cities, according to Statistics Canada.

Statistics Canada on Tuesday released its annual police-reported crime rate from 2011. For the fifth consecutive year, Manitoba had the highest homicide rate among the provinces while Winnipeg led the cities. 

Overall, violent crime is dropping across the country.

The crime rate continued its long-term downward trend in 2011, declining six per cent from 2010. The Crime Severity Index, which measures the severity of crime, also fell six per cent in that time.

The drop in crime was seen throughout the country and for most offences, including attempted murders, major assaults, sexual assaults, robberies, break-ins and motor vehicle thefts.

Offences that showed an increase in 2011 were homicide, sexual offences against children, child pornography, criminal harassment, impaired driving and most drug offences.

And despite the overall drop in violent crime, Canada's homicide rate rose seven per cent in 2011 to 1.7 homicides per 100,000 population.

Police reported 598 homicides in 2011 — 44 more than in 2010.

Among the provinces, Saskatchewan had the highest CSI in 2011 and Ontario, the lowest.

For violent crime severity, Manitoba reported the highest violent CSI, while Prince Edward Island reported the lowest.

Despite annual fluctuations, the homicide rate has generally been declining since peaking in the mid-1970s, according to Statistics Canada.

Crime in the cities

When it comes to severe crime in specific cities, Winnipeg comes in fourth, behind Regina, Saskatoon and Thunder Bay.

Guelph had the lowest CSI value among CMAs for the fifth consecutive year, followed by Québec, Toronto and Ottawa.

Winnipeg, however, is driven by its homicide rate, which was the highest of all of Canada's 33 census metropolitan areas (CMAs) in 2011.

Winnipeg was followed by Halifax and Edmonton.

The 2011 homicide rate for both Winnipeg and Halifax was the highest recorded in these CMAs since 1981, when data first became available.

Overall, the CSI declined in all CMAs in 2011.

The largest drops occurred in Victoria (-17 per cent), Calgary (-14 per cent), Saint John (-14 per cent) and Kelowna (-14 per cent). The only CMA to report an increase in the crime rate in 2011 was Moncton, up three per cent.