Volunteers to poll Downtown residents about safety concerns

Dennis Hanagan –

Volunteers from 51 Division will survey residents in Regent Park, St. Jamestown and the Sherbourne corridor this May to hear their concerns about safety in their neighbourhoods.

They’ll be asking questions as part of the division’s summer safety project that starts May 13 and runs to Sept. 2. It’ll have police patrolling the neighbourhoods when they’re not responding to emergency calls.

“The questions will be centred around how safe do you feel in your community. How responsive do you feel the police are to your needs. How strong is the sense of community in your neighbourhood. Essentially (it’s) to get a sense of what the problems are,” Det. David Roberts said in an interview.

The survey will need 20 to 25 volunteers to speak to residents face-to-face. Police want some who can speak different languages. It’ll take place over several days, starting the first or second week of May before the safety project begins.

The division’s Community Police Liaison Committee (CPLC) and community groups that the division works with will be asked to provide volunteers.

“We’ll go through the buildings as well as out on the street talking to people to try and get as great a response as possible,” Roberts said. Residents will be asked to rate their concerns on a scale of one to five, ranging from feeling very safe to not safe at all.

When the summer project winds up another survey will be taken asking residents to assess the project’s effectiveness in addressing their concerns.

Roberts said the survey will provide police with a “better insight” as to what neighbourhood safety problems are because the information will come directly from those who live there day-in-and-day-out.

“We just want the community to come out and talk to us,” he said, adding that by establishing a police-resident rapport people might feel less apprehensive about approaching police with crime problems.

“Hopefully that will alleviate some of the concerns someone may have in reporting crimes to the police.”

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