A total of 97 per cent of people who responded to a survey conducted for the Abbotsford Police Department (APD) said they feel safe in their own home.
Darryl Plecas of the Centre for Public Safety and Criminal Justice Research, which oversaw the public safety survey, said that number is higher than for any other police agency in B.C. that has asked the same question.
The survey went out to 2,200 residents in November. Results were released Tuesday at the monthly meeting of the Abbotsford Police board based on the 486 questionnaires that had been returned.
Plecas said the APD also recorded the highest number – 95 per cent – that he has seen for people who are satisfied with the job police are doing in their community.
“We have never done one of these (surveys) where the response was so positive,” he said.
Plecas said another noteworthy result was that the South Asian population recorded a higher percentage of people who said they feel safe in the community compared to non-South Asians.
Plecas said the result is surprising – and a credit to the APD – because minority groups often have negative views of police. This can be based on bad experiences that they bring with them to Canada from their homeland.
While 92 per cent of survey respondents said they feel safe in their neighborhoods and 88 said they feel safe in the community, they also indicated there were places they wouldn’t feel safe walking at night.
The three areas identified were the downtown core near Five Corners and Jubilee Park, the Mill Lake area, and Clearbrook Road and South Fraser Way.
Respondents were also asked what issues caused them to be most concerned about their personal safety.
Of those who answered the question, 25 per cent said drug activity was their top concern, and 20 per cent listed gangs and gang activity.
Other responses were traffic violations (five per cent) and homelessness (three per cent).
Plecas said although the survey results indicate “a high level of trust and respect for the APD,” victims of crime consistently rated their satisfaction with police sightly lower than that of non-victims.
This is the second public safety survey conducted for the APD. The first one was done in 2010, when 93 per cent of respondents indicated overall satisfaction with the department.
The complete survey results will be printed in the coming days on the Abbotsford Police website at abbypd.ca.