A new survey about the perception of public safety in Vancouver shows that the vast majority of Vancouverites are concerned about crime in the city.
The survey was commissioned by the Vancouver Police Department to gauge how safe residents and business owners feel in Vancouver.
“We review data and analytics on a daily basis to see how crime is trending, and where neighbourhood hot spots are. We use this information to determine police operations and to allocate resourcing,” said Howard Chow, Deputy Chief Constable, Operations, on Monday. “However, what we don’t get consistently is a sense of how individuals, families, and business owners feel on a day-to-day basis about neighbourhood safety. This survey gives us that view.”
Seventy-eight per cent of respondents were concerned about crime in Vancouver. This number grew to 84 per cent for people living in downtown Vancouver and to 94 per cent for respondents who had been a victim of crime in the past year.
“We have been receiving many emails and hearing anecdotes from the field about people in Vancouver feeling unsafe. This survey gives us additional insight to deploy the appropriate resourcing to help create a sense of safety in the city,” said Chow. “We need to continue to ensure we are effective and efficient in resourcing and deploying the right people, in the right places, at the right time.”
Respondents were asked if they feel crime in Vancouver has changed in the past year: 61 per cent of all respondents said it has gotten worse, 29 per cent said it is the same, while four per cent said it is better. However, 74 per cent of the respondents living downtown indicated that crime has gotten worse.
Further, more than one third of all respondents said they have changed their routines or behaviour – like where they walk or when they walk – because of crime concerns. The most frequently mentioned behaviour change was avoiding specific neighbourhoods. The top four neighbourhoods mentioned were the Downtown Eastside, Chinatown, Gastown, and the Granville Entertainment District.
In response, the VPD has started a neighbourhood response team. Officers and community safety personnel were redeployed, starting on November 2, from other duties to the new team. Their primary responsibility is to respond quickly to street disorder issues quickly before they escalate. Officers are responsible for responding to calls from the public about disturbances, suspicious circumstances, people trespassing, and mischief.
“We know from experience that calls that may be seem like low-level crime can be indicative of larger, criminal issues,” said Chow. “We want the public to call these in, because having police respond and deal with the issue, can increase the sense of safety on our streets.”
The survey was conducted by Leger – an independent market research and analytics company – in October. There were 755 respondents of which 48 per cent live in Vancouver, 28 per cent live and work in Vancouver, 13 per cent work or conduct business in Vancouver, and 11 per cent visit the city frequently.
Backgrounder: public safety in Vancouver
In October, Leger – an independent market research and analytics company – conducted a survey on the perception of crime in Vancouver amongst people who live in, work in, or visit the city.
There were 755 respondents of which 48 per cent live in Vancouver, 13 per cent work or conduct business in Vancouver and 11 per cent visit the city regularly.
Respondents were asked 11 questions. Some of the questions and responses are below.
Overall, how concerned are you about crime in Vancouver?
· 78 per cent: concerned
· 21 per cent: not concerned
In your opinion, how has the amount of crime in Vancouver changed in the past year? Would you say crime is…? Worse? Same? Better?
· 61 per cent: worse
· 29 per cent: same
· 4 per cent: better
How concerned are you about crime in the neighbourhood you live in?
· 58 per cent: concerned
· 41 per cent: non concerned
In your opinion, how has the amount of crime in the neighbourhood you live in changed in the past year? Would you say the amount of crime is…? Worse? Same? Better?
· 46 per cent: worse
· 45 per cent: same
· 4 per cent: better
How concerned are you about the crime in the neighbourhood you work in?
· 53 per cent: concerned
· 45 per cent: not concerned
In your opinion, how has the amount of crime in the neighbourhood you work in changed in the past year? Would you say the amount of crime is…? Worse? Same? Better?
· 40 per cent: worse
· 48 per cent: same
· 4 per cent: better
Have you changed any of your routines or behaviours over the last year because of the amount of crime in Vancouver?
· 33 per cent: yes
· 62 per cent: not
· 5 per cent: don’t know/prefer not to answer
How concerned are your staff about crime in the neighbourhood of your business?
· 55 per cent concerned
· 38 per cent no concerned
· 8 per cent don’t know/prefer not to answer