Perceptions of Public Safety Wobble in British Columbia

Compared to late 2020, fewer residents of the province say they would feel safe walking alone in their neighbourhood after dark.  
Vancouver, BC [November 9, 2021] – The views of British Columbians on specific indicators related to criminal activity have become more dire during 2021, a new Research Co. poll has found.  
In the online survey of a representative provincial sample, almost half of British Columbians (48%) say they fear becoming victims of crime in their community “a great deal” or “a fair amount”, up six points since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in December 2020.  
Fear of crime is highest in Metro Vancouver (54%), followed by Northern BC (49%), the Fraser Valley (41%), Vancouver Island (also 41%) and Southern BC (32%).  
Across the province, 63% of British Columbians say they would feel “very safe” or “moderately safe” walking alone in their own neighbourhood after dark, down five points since 2020.  
“Practically three-in-four men in British Columbia (74%) say they would feel safe strolling through their neighbourhood at night,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Only 53% of women share the same point of view.”  
More than two-in-five British Columbians (44%, up two points since November 2020) say the level of criminal activity in their community has increased in the past four years—a proportion that rises to 53% in Southern BC and 54% in Vancouver Island.  
Over the past four years, one-in-five British Columbians (20%, -1) have been victims of a crime involving the police (such as an assault or a car break-in) in their community.  
Almost half of British Columbians (48%, +3) believe addiction and mental health issues are to blame “a great deal” for the current situation regarding crime in their community, while almost two-in-five (38%, =) point the finger at gangs and the illegal drug trade.  
Fewer British Columbians place “most of the blame” for criminal activity on poverty and inequality (31%, +5), an inadequate court system (30%, +4), lack of values and improper education for youth (27%, +3), a bad economy and unemployment (20%, +1), insufficient policing and a lack of resources to combat crime (also 20%, +4) and immigrants and minorities (9%, =).  
Sizeable proportions of British Columbians remain supportive of enacting a ban on military-style assault weapons (84%, +2) and a ban on handguns (79%, -1) within the limits of their municipality.
Results are based on an online study conducted from November 1 to November 3, 2021, 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 plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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

For more information on this poll, please contact:

Mario Canseco, President, Research Co.