Two-thirds of respondents to an Abbotsford Police survey gave the local force good marks last fall even though many believe crime has increased over the last three years.
Results of the survey were released recently and suggest the public believe gang violence is the largest public safety priority, along with drugs and violent crimes like assaults also being deemed important. In addition to focusing on violent and drug-related crimes, around 20 per cent of respondents called for more traffic enforcement.
The survey was conducted in September and October and saw 779 people participate.
Asked to rate the performance of the department, 21 per cent said the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) was doing an “excellent” job, while 47 per cent said the force was doing a “good” job. Only eight per cent rated the department’s performance “poor” or “very poor,” with the remainder saying it did an “average” job.
APD Const. Ian MacDonald said it was gratifying to see the positive comments from respondents.
“Our community supports our police department,” he said. “We’ve seen that in every community survey that we’ve done and it’s one of the reasons I tell people it’s a privilege to work here in law enforcement.”
Fifty-seven per cent of respondents said they believed criminal activity in Abbotsford has increased over the last three years. Those people were equally split between those who saw a slight rise in crime, and those who thought it had increased “significantly.” Of the remaining respondents, half said crime was about the same, 10 per cent thought it had decreased, and 11 per cent said they didn’t know.
The public perception lines up with publicly released statistics, which suggested that after dropping for several years, crime in the Abbotsford-Mission area rose in 2014 and 2015. Statistics for 2016 have not yet been released.
MacDonald said the survey results have been used to inform the department’s 2017 strategic plan, which will be released in the coming weeks.
The public’s focus on violent crimes and gangs matches those of the department, he said.
This story has been updated to reflect the public’s call for more traffic enforcement.