Among Canada’s metropolitan areas, Thunder Bay's rate of violent crime is the third worst in the nation. A new report from Statistics Canada shows that, in 2011, only Winnipeg and Saskatoon had a higher measure of severe crime than Thunder Bay.

But it’s important to note that this particular number has dropped from the year before, said Thunder Bay police chief JP Levesque.

"It's certainly not where we [want to] be, by any stretch, but we're encouraged by the fact that overall crime dropped by 4 per cent and violent crime has dropped by 8 per cent," he said.

"We're hoping that, with upcoming initiatives, we see further reductions in … 2012."


Thunder Bay Police Chief JP Levesque (CBC)

Levesque added that the city has seen a decrease over the last few years in homicides.

"We were at six in 2009, five in 2010, and were down to four last year," he said. "It's a shame that, when you're talking about loss of life, you throw it into a statistic, but it's just the reality, I guess."

Levesque said police administration is trying to negotiate different shift schedules with the Thunder Bay Police Association, and noted that deploying officers in different ways may help. He said he was also relieved to learn Tuesday that the province has renewed a $600,000 program to help Thunder Bay police combat guns and gangs.

"We were hearing rumblings in the police sector that program was on the chopping block," he said. "We were quite concerned."