Prairie Post (West Edition)

Concerns over crime climb to decade high; confidence in RCMP plummets below majority

- CONTRIBUTE­D Link to the poll here:

As reported violent crimes continue to tick upward across the country, Canadians have taken notice, and their concern about community crime rates has hit its highest point in a decade of Angus Reid tracking.

New data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds three-in-five Canadians (60%) believe there has been more crime in their community over the last five years. That sentiment is twice as common as it was in 2014, when three-inten (30%) believed crime was increasing where they lived.

Notably, while violent crime has risen since 2014, other forms of crime have remained stable, or even dropped precipitou­sly.

As concern over crime climbs, confidence is low in some of the country’s key institutio­ns of justice. A declining number of Canadians profess confidence in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Half (47%) say this, while as many do not (45%). As recently as 2014, two-thirds (67%) of Canadians said they had complete or a lot of confidence in that institutio­n. Trust is even lower in the provincial criminal courts. More than half (55%) of Canadians say they do not trust the criminal courts in their home province.

Crime in urban centres

• Scanning across some of Canada’s largest metropolit­an centres, most urbanites feel that crime in their community is rising. This is most pronounced in Winnipeg, where seven-in-ten say crime is increasing where they live. Aptly, that city ranks highest among those included in this study on the CSI. Only Kelowna, B.C. and Lethbridge, Alta. had higher crime rates in 2021. However, a perception of increased crime around them stands in juxtaposit­ion to Canadians’ own experience­s. Despite widespread belief that crime is increasing, the number of Canadians reporting being a victim of a crime over the past two years has not changed. Indeed, this number is the same now as it was in 2018 (13%).

More Key Findings:

• Three-quarters of Canadians (74%) say their neighbourh­ood is a safe place to walk alone after dark. This rises to 86 per cent among rural Canadians and drops to 72 per cent among urbanites. Winnipeg residents feel least safe – twoin-five (41%) say they do not feel comfortabl­e walking alone at night. Overall, this represents a seven-point decline from 2015, when four-in-five (81%) Canadians said they felt safe walking alone after dark in their neighbourh­ood. • Three-in-five (57%) respondent­s who identify as Indigenous say they do not have confidence in the RCMP. Half (48%) of those who identify as visible minorities, and more than two-in-five (43%) non-visible minorities say the same. Confidence in local police detachment­s is much higher among those over the age of 54 (62%) than those aged 18- to 34-years-old (39%).

Reporting of crime is also a factor that can confound the true picture in Canada. Previous studies have confirmed that the vast majority of crimes are not, in fact, reported to the police:

“In 2019, about three in ten (29%) Canadians indicated that the victimizat­ion that they or their household experience­d was reported to police. Reporting varied widely depending on the type of crime, from about half of all motor vehicle thefts, break and enters, and robberies, to 6% of sexual assaults.” – Statistics Canada

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