Time and place important when measuring downtown safety, Kelowna councillors say | Kelowna News | iNFOnews

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Time and place important when measuring downtown safety, Kelowna councillors say

A man walks in an alley in downtown Kelowna on Monday, April 18, 2016.
April 18, 2016 - 1:00 PM


KELOWNA - A sense of safety downtown is important, Kelowna city councillors agree, but a better definition of what downtown actually is would help when measuring it.

“Downtown is a huge area and I think people feel safe in some areas and not in others,” Coun. Maxine Dehart says. “I think we need to figure that out first.”

Dehart and other councillors heard from planning manager James Moore today, April 18, who is proposing a way to gauge something that's hard to measure and is often affected by events well beyond the city’s control.

“Perception and reality are never the same thing,” Moore says.

Coun. Mohini Singh wants to know if there is a way to gauge safety at different times of the day. 

“Does it feel unsafe just at night or in the morning as well,” Singh says.

Moore is proposing inclusion of extra questions in the city’s biannual citizens survey to provide staff with qualitative indicators that can be measured against crime statistics and motor vehicle incidents.

The data gleaned from those comparisons will be used to set planning and operational priorities in the downtown area, Moore told councillors and will be available by the summer of 2017.

While agreeing with the suggestions of councilllors, Moore also cautions against making sudden policy shifts based on initial results.

“We need to take a longer view on this. We don’t want to be reactionary,” he says.

The statistics from the RCMP count the number of crimes against persons and property plus controlled substance and liquor violations. ICBC provides the number of pedestrian and cyclist injuries.

The proposal to add extra questions to the citizen survey was passed unanimously.

Find past stories about Kelowna city council here.

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