Computer Crime Research Center


People feel safer after dark

Date: December 31, 2005
By: Bruce Owen

Most Winnipeggers say they feel safe walking in their neighbourhoods after dark, even though 43 per cent say they have been victims of crime in the past year, a Probe Research/Free Press poll shows.

But how safe people feel depends on where they live, said Lloyd Fridfinnson, Probe's director of research.

The poll found 84 per cent of people said they feel either very safe or somewhat safe when walking in their neighbourhoods after dark. Forty-four per cent said they feel very safe and 40 per cent said they feel somewhat safe.

Fridfinnson said it should come as no surprise that perceptions of personal safety depend on where you live.

For instance, 53 per cent of those living in southwest Winnipeg and 52 per cent in the southeast said they feel "very safe" at night compared with 30 per cent living in the city's core and 37 per cent in the city's northwest, which includes the North End.
Fridfinnson said respondents living in the core area also had the highest number of people reporting being, or knowing a victim of, crime -- 55 per cent of 121 respondents.

He said what is a surprise is the city-wide response to victimization: More than four in 10 respondents said they themselves or someone in their household was a victim of crime.

"In absolute terms, the numbers are high," Fridfinnson said. "There seems to be a lot of it."

On the plus side, the majority of these crimes were not violent offences, but rather property crimes such as car thefts, vandalism, property thefts, break-ins and to a lesser extent computer or Internet-related crimes.

The telephone survey of 602 adults, conducted Nov. 29 to Dec. 8, has a margin of error of four percentage points 19 times out of 20, Fridfinnson said.

He said the poll's findings will serve as a benchmark for further surveys done on crime. For example, the number of vehicles stolen in the city has declined about 10 per cent this year from last year and is expected to come down as more drivers protect their vehicles from theft.

Auto-theft crime went up 39 per cent in Winnipeg in 2004 compared with the year before, according to Manitoba Public Insurance.

Fridfinnson said the poll also found auto theft was spread fairly evenly throughout the city. Cars are most often stolen from driveways and parking lots.

And although only five per cent of respondents said they were or knew someone victimized by computer-related crime, such as identify theft or fraud, Fridfinnson said that number is expected to rise as crime trends change.
Winnipeg police spokeswoman Const. Jacqueline Chaput said the survey mirrors crime statistics and other data collected by the service.

"Winnipeggers generally feel safe where they live," she said.

The 2004 city police annual report said there was a three per cent increase in property crimes in Winnipeg and a two per cent reduction in violent crimes, including assaults, sex assaults, abductions and robberies.

The last public opinion poll done by city police on public safety was released in October 2004. It found 94 per cent of residents feel safe walking the streets during the day and 63.5 per cent feel safe at night. The same poll found the top concern among 600 respondents was bad drivers.

The Probe poll also found that men and women have different perceptions of their personal safety. Sixty per cent of men say they feel safe at night compared to 30 per cent of women.

Other poll findings:

* Nearly one in three Winnipeg households (32 per cent) reported having a car stolen or vandalized.

* Home break-ins were more common in the core area (15 per cent) than in the rest of the city (six per cent).

* Reports of physical attacks are more common in the north part of the city, including the core (seven per cent), than in the south (one per cent).
* The lowest victimization levels were found in the city's southwest, including Charleswood, at 35 per cent, and the southeast region, St. Vital, at 34 per cent.
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2006-02-21 22:07:29 - i find a thief quite repulsive!lowdown,no... "ARIES @13"WARRIOR"
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