A report released by Statistics Canada showed crime in Winnipeg helped push Manitoba into top spot for homicide rates among provinces in the country.

Among major centres, Winnipeg is the top city in the country for murders in 2011, reporting 41 homicides that year. The city also had the highest rate of severe violent crimes.

The report says Winnipeg's violent stats are high because of a spike in robberies and homicides.

Those numbers propelled Manitoba to become the murder capital of Canada for a fifth straight year.

Michael Weinrath, a criminologist at the University of Winnipeg, said many of the city’s homicides can be linked to poverty.

“Where you have impoverished individuals, disadvantaged individuals, disadvantaged minority groups - you're going to have more violence and that will ultimately spill over in the form of homicide,” said Weinrath.

The Social Planning Council of Winnipeg said the city has a high percentage of working poor and children in poverty.

“They are living in unsafe housing because they are living on $21,000 a year,” said Christina Maes from the council.

The council stressed low-income individuals are more likely to be victims of violence rather than perpetrators.

Collin Labiuk, 36, previously served time for a violent crime.

He said there are too few positive opportunities for many people.

“It’s so deeply rooted in the community that it’s going to take something earth-shaking to change that around,” said Labiuk.

He said he feels fortunate to have left a criminal lifestyle behind.

"It was very scary. I still have anxiety today and I've been away for 10 years,” said Labiuk.

In the statistics released Tuesday, Halifax ranked second while Edmonton ranked third for homicide rates among major Canadian cities.

- with a report from CTV's Jeff Keele