Red Deerians feeling less safe: survey

Red Deerians feel less safe in the city than they did four years ago, according to the city’s 2015 Perceptions of Crime Survey.

Red Deerians feel less safe in the city than they did four years ago, according to the city’s 2015 Perceptions of Crime Survey.

The city released details from the survey that polled 475 residents about their feelings on safety and policing this week.

Respondents were polled on safety overall, neighbourhoods, downtown Red Deer and crime concerns. The poll was conducted by phone and online in January. The last safety perception survey was conducted in 2011.

On the subject of violent crime in neighbourhoods, 66 per cent of respondents felt extremely safe or very safe, compared to 79 per cent in 2011.

When it came property crime, 30 per cent of the respondents felt extremely safe or very safe compared to 50 per cent in 2011.

Mayor Tara Veer said city council has made community safety a priority in response to community concerns.

“While overall two-thirds of our citizens think Red Deer is a safe place to live, the downtown area is an identified concern for the public,” said Veer. “In response to this we are working to proactively to create a more inviting place downtown.”

A total of 61 per cent of those polled said downtown Red Deer is safe during the day.

But 69 per cent disagreed that downtown is safe at night.

Recent initiatives such as the Greater Downtown Action Plan, the Social Policy framework and the Community Alcohol and Drug Road Map will direct positive change, said Veer.

The city also formed an ad hoc Community Safety Committee that will develop a strategic plan for crime prevention and community safety among its duties earlier this year.

Veer said the perception survey is just as important as statistics because they influence choices by residents. The Red Deer RCMP also released its annual policing plan on Monday that sets out focus areas for the year.

The survey also showed:

l Thirty per cent of those polled were either a victim of a violent crime (eight per cent of those who responded positively) or a property crime (94 per cent of those who responded positively) in the 12 months leading up to the survey.

l Eighty per cent of victims of a violent crime said they were not satisfied with police response.

l Sixty-three per cent of the victims of property crime said they were satisfied with police response.

l Fifty-seven per cent said the sale and the use of illegal drugs are the root causes of crime.

l Thirty-four per cent were most concerned about the use and dealing of drugs, drug houses and issues surrounding drugs.

l Sixty-two per cent of residents are most concerned about property crime.

l Thirty-two per cent of respondents would like an increase in visibility and police patrols to make them feel safe in their neighbourhoods.

For more information on the survey, visit www.reddeer.ca.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com