For the ninth year in a row, Saskatchewan has the highest crime rateof allthe provinces.

Saskatchewan's2006 rate of 13,711 crimes for every 100,000 people puts it head and shoulders above the Canadian rate of 7,518.

However, the silver lining, according to a Statistics Canada report Wednesday, is that total crime droppedfour per cent in Saskatchewan. Crime also dropped in all other provinces.

Property crime in Saskatchewan dropped 13 per cent, the biggest drop of all provinces.

Saskatchewan's acting justice minister, Maynard Sonntag, said the latest data shows the province has turned the corner on crime, and programs designed to fight crime are working.

Sonntag noted it's the third consecutive year of decline in the provincial crime rate.

Property crime is down to the lowest level in 25 years, he said.

Not all the trends are positive, however. Saskatchewan recorded an 18 per cent increase in the number of robberies reported.

Meanwhile, the new numbersindicate Saskatoon and Regina continue to have the worst crime rates of the 27 metropolitan areas surveyed for the census.

Regina worked hard to lower rates: police chief

Regina, the city with the worst crime rate, had 12,415 offences per 100,000 people reported to police. Saskatoon, No. 2 in Canada, had 12,209.

Regina also had the dubious distinction of having the highest homicide rate of the 27 communities: 4.5 per 100,000 people.

Regina Police Chief Cal Johnstonsaid the study results are bittersweet, even though the crime rate is going down.

"It's acknowledged in the national report we're at the lowest level we've seen since 1991 and we've worked pretty hard to get that place," he said.

"The bitter part of this story is based on the number of offences in this city multiplied by the population— we'reNo. 1when compared to the other cities in Canada."

A total of 135,104 Criminal Code incidents, not including traffic incidents, were reported in Saskatchewan in 2006, according to the Saskatchewan government.