Staff with the City of North Battleford will soon be able to gauge how safe people feel in their neighbourhoods with a survey.
The issue came up at council Monday night when Tarah Hodgkinson, an expert in criminology at Simon Fraser University, and the lead in the project, discussed the initiative.
Mayor Ryan Bater said North Battleford's Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) committee is working with Hodgkinson on the Community Safety Survey.
"We're fortunate to have a CPTED committee that saw value in this, and, of course, Dr. Hodgkinson who is providing her expertise,” he said. “We couldn't do it without her. It's very exciting, and it's starting right away."
Bater added this is the first rural community in Canada to undertake this type of survey.
“It’s important for us to measure the perception of safety but also to measure the strategies that are currently in play,” Bater said. “We have a lot going on in the community safety file. We want to see what is working, and what isn’t.”
Hodgkinson is working with a research team from North West College to execute the 20-minute survey.
People will be able to complete the survey online, and it will also be available through a door-to-door campaign.
Some questions on the survey will revolve around what safety initiatives in the city respondents are aware of, for example, the homeowners' security camera registry — a program to alert the RCMP in the event of any suspicious activity.
Hodgkinson pointed out the survey will provide a cross-section of perceptions about safety in the community. It will also help identify safety concern "hot-spots."
The preliminary results of the survey will be available in March 2019. Hodgkinson will present a full report on her findings to the city next June.
As part of the study, the organizers will contact respondents again in two years for a follow-up interview, for anyone who wants to participate.
There will be no cost to the city for the survey project, other than what it will cost Hodgkinson for travel expenses, which will come out of the CPTED budget.
The survey can be completed here.
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