Half of Kelowna residents feel crime has increased in the city over the past two years.
That statistic (51 per cent) is from the Community Safety Survey commissioned by the city and done by Leger. The survey found 96 per cent of residents feel very safe, or somewhat safe in their neighbourhood during the daytime.
“While still a high proportion, this is a statistically significant dip from 99 per cent in 2019,” the report concluded.
Nearly one-quarter of respondents said they feel unsafe at night. Women are more inclined to be worried about being a victim of crime overall, along with previous victims of crime. Residents identified the following as being the most important crime-related problems in the city in 2022:
- Property crime at 43 per cent, similar to 2019 at 45 per cent;
- Drug-related and drug use type problems 29 per cent, compared to 38 per cent in 2019;
- Assault, violence and shooting offences at 13 per cent, compared to 8 per cent in 2019.
Residents feel the general downtown area is the least safe area, with four in ten considering it less safe than other neighbourhoods. Two in ten indicate the Rutland area is less safe. Residents ranked decreasing property, petty and drug crime rates highest amongst the priorities of police.
The report found crime plays a minimal or no role in residents’ everyday lives, unless they are a recent victim. It suggests the city may want to develop programs supporting them, to help reduce fear and lower perceptions of crime overall, and consider outreach in the downtown and Rutland areas to alleviate perceptions those neighbourhoods are less safe.
It also revealed nearly eight in 10 residents feel a strong sense of belonging to their neighbourhood, and seven in 10 get along with their neighbours.
The findings will go before council on Monday (May 16).