Crime Running Wild in the Sault: Algoma will set new overdose death record

Garbage and Needles
Garbage left outside of a local business after an attempted break-in.

Algoma will set a new record in overdose-related deaths this year.

Attempted break and enters are up 143 percent cumulatively year over year.

These are just a few of the stats we have uncovered in our investigation into crime in Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma.

Sault Online, using statistics provided by Sault Police Services as well as referencing Algoma Public Health and Maclean’s magazine are making sense of the numbers for you.

The most recent numbers are provided by our local police force during their Police Service Board meeting. Year to year stats comparing January to August of 2019 with the same period this year:

  • Overall reported incidents are down in the city
  • Attempted break and enters are up 143 per cent
  • Thefts from vehicles are up almost 57 per cent
  • Break and Enters to businesses are up almost 44 per cent

The police chief during the meeting said there are some things in the works including patrols etc. of the areas hardest hit. He noted it will be announced over the coming weeks.

Many stats have trended down year over year but these three verify what is reported on social media every day, it seems to be getting worse.

Jordan Robson, epidemiologist at Algoma Public Health provided data for us to share with our readers:

  • Since 2015, the Algoma region has been experiencing a rise in opioid-related deaths
  • 2018 was previously the worst year on record, with 26 opioid-related deaths in Algoma that year
  • In the first half of 2020, there have already been 26 confirmed opioid-related deaths and 4 deaths that are likely opioid-related but not yet confirmed
  • This puts Algoma on pace to experience between 52 and 60 opioid-related deaths in 2020 if the current pace continues
  • The trend of 2020 being the worst year on record for opioid-related deaths is not just observed in Algoma
  • Similar to Algoma, the North East PHUs overall are seeing higher opioid-related deaths in 2020 as well, with 105 through the first 6 months compared to a high of 119 all of last year

Other stats provided by Algoma Public Health’s website show:

  • Emergency department visits because of opioids has climbed since 2017
  • The stats show Summer of both 2017 and 2019 were the worst times in the past 4 years for these types of visits
  • According to the Crude Death Rate, men and women aged 25 – 64 are the most likely candidates for overdose death from 2015 -2019. With men and women aged 25-44 being the highest risk

Vice brought some of these stats right to Mayor Provenzano a few years ago. They pointed out 40-50 people were overdosing a month and they didn’t have the community support. Provenzano said in that interview he wasn’t really made aware of this because other issues had got his attention.

“This isn’t to diminish this issue because I in no means want to diminish the issue,” said Provenzano to the Vice News team. “This isn’t an issue that has been raised with me significantly… I don’t think that there has been an intentional effort not to talk about or address this issue.”

When reviewing the Maclean’s magazine data some statistics really stick out. Posted in November of 2019 it quotes statistics available in 2018. Sault Ste. Marie is listed as the 61st most dangerous place to live when talking about violent crimes.

The Crime Severity Index is used as a Statistics Canada measure of all police-reported crime, which takes into consideration both the volume and seriousness of offences.

With a Crime Severity Index of 113 Sault Ste. Marie ranks 43 in Canada. The Canadian Average is 75.01.

Regarding the five-year change in crime – SSM has risen to 22nd most dangerous city in Canada with regard to increasingly worsening crime.

This is a problem. As we go forward more solutions including some very outside-the-box thinking have been pitched at Sault Online and we will be bringing them to you in an upcoming segment.

All the supporting graphs for this can be found below.




  1. Your editors need to change this headline. It suggests that opioid overdoses are a crime. A public health crisis not a crime spree. Irresponsible journalism.

  2. I think drug treatment programming should be put into the Algoma Treatment and Remand Centre. It has been slowly falling apart with the programs set up. It needs a refreshment and it is a good olace for thise seeking treatment for addictions and then they could be connected with treatment programs. There seems to be a lot of time that could be used to help those who want help.

  3. Someone had asked for the proof about the drugs and crime in the Sault, well Dan has answered that call. Good journalism, and long over due. Will be watching to see if the elected officials act on the drug and crime problem. Ron…..

    • Well city council has had many opportunities over many decades by chose to keep their heads in the sand pretending “The Soo” is a tourist destination. And year after year the city continues to deteriorate due to the same old change resistant mindset.
      Rather than actually take action the city instead spreads layer after layer of toxic positivity as Psychology Today puts it.
      Wonder if city council realized that outside this city is starting to be called “Sewer Ste Marie”

  4. I’ve lived here almost all my life and it makes me so sad that our once beautiful, safe city has become such a scary depressing place. Why? It seems to me that since the Northern Treatment Center which is now a full blown bad guy jail releases these criminals into our community and they make it home. I guess a small sleepy town where people hardly locked their doors is perfect for some of these guys bringing their bad here. I do believe these guys should be put on a bus back to where they came from. It certainly would be cheaper. Once they get home, they can reconnect with their own instead of becoming bad guy teachers here. Just my thought

    • It really has nothing to do with the remand center – that center is here for a reason, it needs to be here because those criminals were here.
      What we’ve seen is poor leadership – poor management, poor planning, cronyism, ineffective and outdated policing, corruption. That’s led us to lack of economic diversity, stale job market, high rate of illicit drugs moving in & out of town.
      The policing model alone is about 30+ years behind. There’s no community policing model, no real modernization, minimal to no appropriate use of civilian policing roles, minimal to no use of an auxiliary policing services unit, weak patrol planning and no proactive patrol planning.
      The problem is SSM has not been forward thinking or willing to accept change at all, especially when it makes sense and we’re paying the price.
      There are quite a few people with warrants here in the Sault that are arrested elsewhere and then brought back here, so this city can just as easily be blamed for sending our “bad guys” to other cities. The Sault has a bad reputation outside of the city for a reason.

  5. Bought my land far from here, building a house, closing my business, moving my family far from the Soo and happy to never look back.
    Lower insurance, lower property taxes, far lower crime, no drug overdoses recorded in recent history. Going to be such a refreshing change to be able to live in a town where people don’t even have to lock their car doors.

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