Do you feel safe in Kamloops? This advocacy group wants to know | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Do you feel safe in Kamloops? This advocacy group wants to know

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK

The Kamloops Voters Society wants to know where you live, where you shop and whether you feel safe there.

With a focus around "street-entrenched" people, as the survey reads, the association wants to gauge perceptions of safety in various city neighbourhoods.

"It's been a topical issue in the last couple years," society president Randy Sunderman said. "So we wanted to get the residents' perspective and give them a voice."

The survey follows the release of a similar one conducted by the City of Kelowna and released earlier this month.

READ MORE: Kelowna residents more concerned about crime than before COVID pandemic: survey

In the Okanagan city, residents reported feeling less safe than they had in 2019. Despite a drop in perceptions of safety, fewer respondents reported being victims of crime and 80% felt crime does not or rarely affects their quality of life.

Just 301 people responded to the random phone call survey.

The Kamloops Voters Society, however, is conducting their survey online until next Wednesday.

It asks residents to compare their perceived safety now to Kamloops as they saw it in 2018, whether it's due to violent crime, harassment, vandalism or trespassing.

READ MORE: Why jail isn't the best way to reduce crime rates in Kamloops, Okanagan

Sunderman said providing a year prior to the pandemic to compare will give respondents a baseline when they think about their safety now.

"Everybody's perspectives will be slightly different. I've seen changes in Aberdeen, but all in all, it's still safe. I can see changes around the city, though," he said. "I've noticed changes in the downtown core. It's definitely not like it was."

Sunderman said the Kamloops Voters Society's goal is to give voters "a voice" to City Hall. The group has been pursuing this mission since 2011, although they took a brief hiatus when former members Dieter Dudy and Denis Walsh left to run for city council.

In the last four years, Sunderman said the group has taken up their mission again, trying to make civic participation easier to access for residents.

While he's not sure what results will come from presenting the survey findings to the City, he said a previous survey related to spending at the Thompson Nicola Regional District ended with productive conversations with top staff at the district.

The voters society had more than 600 respondents to the regional district spending survey, which can be found here.

READ MORE: Public fears prolific offenders, not housing projects: Minister Eby

This one will focus on both perceived safety in the city, along with giving a grade to bylaw responses to complaints and communication from the City and non-profit agencies.

As for Kamloops RCMP data, crime inched up in Kamloops in 2021, with an overall 5% increase in reported offences.

Whether the responses relate to actual danger or simply perceptions of what areas are more or less safe in Kamloops, the voters society survey aims to uncover how that's changing residents' behaviour, like where they shop.

Go to the Kamloops Voters Society website here to find the survey.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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