Views on Safety in British Columbia Unchanged Since 2019

Four-in-five residents support enacting municipal bans on handguns and military-style assault weapons.

Vancouver, BC [January 5, 2021] – The perceptions of British Columbians on the possibility of being affected by criminal activity have not gone through a significant fluctuation over the past year and a half, a new Research Co. poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, two thirds of British Columbians (68%) say they would feel “very safe” or “moderately safe” walking alone in their own neighbourhood after dark—unchanged since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in August 2019.

More than seven-in-ten residents of the Fraser Valley (72%) and Metro Vancouver (71%) say they would feel safe walking alone in their own neighbourhood after dark, compared to 67% in Southern BC and 56% in both Vancouver Island and Northern BC.

Just over two-in-five British Columbians (41%, +1 since August 2019) say they fear becoming victims of a crime in their community “a great deal” or “a fair amount”, while almost three-in-five (58%) do not.

British Columbians aged 18-to-34 are more likely to fear becoming victims of crime (53%) than their counterparts aged 35-to-54 (46%) and aged 55 and over (33%).

When asked about the current situation regarding crime in their community, more than a third of British Columbians blame addiction and mental health issues (45%) and gangs and the illegal drug trade (38%).

Smaller proportions of the province’s residents point the finger at poverty and inequality (26%), an inadequate court system (26%), lack of values and the improper education for youth (24%),  a bad economy and unemployment (19%), insufficient policing and a lack of resources to combat crime (16%) and immigrants and minorities (9%).

In April, 27% of British Columbians suggested that insufficient policing was one of the factors to blame for criminal activity in their community,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “In December, only 16% feel the same way.” 

Four-in-five British Columbians (80%, +1 since a similar Research Co. survey conducted in September 2018) support enacting a ban on handguns within the limits of their municipality, while a slightly higher proportion (83%, -3) would prohibit military-style assault weapons.

Results are based on an online study conducted from December 14 to December 16, 2020, among 800 adults in British Columbia. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in British Columbia. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

Find our data tables here and download the press release here. 

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.