It's a dubious distinction.

Saskatoon led the country last year in the category of gang-related homicides, according to the latest information from Statistics Canada.

Five people died in the city due to gang violence. Police Chief Clive Weighill cautions the general public against reading too much into the stats.

Chief Clive Weighill

Chief Clive Weighill (CBC)

"I believe that the violence so far is still staying within the gang culture," he said "The average citizen here, if you're not involved in the drug market, you're not involved in that lifestyle, it's probably going to have little effect to you."

 'If you're not involved in the drug market, you're not involved in that lifestyle, it's probably going to have little effect to you.'- Chief Clive Weighill

"I think in relation to gangs we've seen the same trend over the last two or three years. I think it's kind of plateauing in the city."

Stats Canada found that Saskatchewan's rate of gang-related homicides was three times the national average.

The agency counted eight gang-related homicides in Saskatchewan in 2012, for a provincial rate of .74 per 100,000 population. The national rate was .27 per 100,000.

What is a gang-related homicide?

"A homicide is classified as gang-related when the accused person and/or the victim involved in the homicide was either a member, or a prospective member, of an organized crime group or street gang or was somehow associated with an organized crime group or street gang, and the homicide was carried out as a result of this association," it said.

While gang-related homicides were up, Saskatchewan's overall homicide rate is falling, in line with a nation wide trend.

The 2012 rate of 2.69 per 100,000 [29 deaths] was the lowest rate for the province since 2000, when the rate was 2.58 per 100,000 [26 deaths].

Among the provinces, Saskatchewan's 2012 homicide rate ranks as number two. Manitoba has the worst homicide rate.