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A 10-year-old girl is taken to hospital after a shooting on Victor Street last May. ((CBC))

Despite a 13 per cent drop in the number of reported incidents, Winnipeg is the country's violent crime capital, Statistics Canada reported Thursday.

Nationally, Statistics Canada said the police-reported crime rate continued a long-term decline last year, dropping five per cent from 2009.

Annual homicide totals for Winnipeg 

2000: 16

2001: 18

2002: 21

2003: 18

2004: 34

2005: 25

2006: 22

2007: 27

2008: 29

2009: 30

2010: 22

It says the national crime rate has been falling steadily for the last 20 years and is now at its lowest level since 1973.

Police reported nearly 2.1 million Criminal Code incidents last year, down about 77,000 from 2009. There were declines in a variety of crimes, including homicide, attempted murder, serious assaults and robbery and other property crimes.

But there were increases in some areas, including sexual assault, firearms crimes, criminal harassment, child pornography and drug offences. Regina and Saskatoon reported the most crimes per capita of any city in the country in 2010, followed by Winnipeg, Kelowna, Thunder Bay and Edmonton.

According to Statistics Canada's  violent crime severity index, Winnipeg reported the highest rate of violent crime in the country, followed by Regina, Saskatoon, Thunder Bay and Vancouver.

Winnipeg police Chief Keith McCaskill said while he's not pleased the city leads the country in violent crime, he pointed out the rate is down by 13 per cent, well above the national drop of six per cent.

"All citizens of Winnipeg do not like to hear that Winnipeg is rated in that regard but it's encouraging the fact that our officers are out there doing a lot of good work," McCaskill said, noting that youth crime in Manitoba has fallen 16 per cent.

"We've got NGOs [non-governmental organizations] doing a lot of good work, so you can't put your finger on any specific thing but I think we're heading in the right direction."

Across Canada, police reported just over 437,000 violent incidents in 2010, about 7,200 fewer than the year before. Violent crimes include murders, attempted murders, sexual and other assaults, kidnappings and other Criminal Code violations causing death.

Although it was among the highest in the country, Winnipeg's overall crime rate dropped 10 per cent in 2010. The city's drop in violent crime, 13 per cent, was among the most significant declines in metropolitan areas in Canada. Abbotsford, B.C.'s reporting of violent crime dropped 24 per cent while Toronto dropped six per cent. Violent crime reports rose 29 per cent in St. John's, N.L.

There were 22 homicides in Winnipeg in 2010, eight fewer than 2009. Nationally, there were 554 homicides, 56 fewer than 2009.

With files from The Canadian Press