Nanaimo Community Policing, the RCMP and partners are once again pounding the pavement to find out how safe residents and business operators feel in their neighbourhood.
Another round of the neighbourhood safety audit is happening this month, being conducted in the Townsite neighbourhood.
Reserve Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said letters and surveys have been sent out to Block Watch chapter members in the area, who will help with gathering information during a walk through the neighbourhood Nov. 15. Online surveys have already been sent to households for residents to fill out.
“We want to get their input before the walk, so we have an idea what their issues are compared to what we think the issues are. That’s really important,” O’Brien said.
Jon Stuart, Nanaimo’s Community Policing co-ordinator, said the purpose of the survey is to get people who work or live in the area being reviewed to tell police and community policing members how they feel about the places they live and work.
“It’s more about perception to crime than it is about crime rates,” Stuart said. “How do people feel? Do they feel safe and what are the issues?”
O’Brien said a Université de Moncton criminology practicum student who will compile the audit data has already been out speaking with business operators in the area.
“[They] don’t necessarily live in the area, but they have a vested interest because they bring in revenue and bring in commerce to the area. They’re a stakeholder that we really need to address,” O’Brien said.
This year marks the third year safety audits have been conducted in Nanaimo. In previous years, the audits were done in neighbourhoods around University Heights, Diver Lake, Newcastle, the south end and downtown.
Results from this year’s audit will be reported to Nanaimo city council in mid December and will also be sent to the area’s Block Watch chapters.
In the fall of 2023, neighbourhoods audited two years previously will be revisited to get a picture of how perceptions about crime and personal safety have shifted for the better or worse.
“The safety audits are important because we really have to connect with people in the community,” O’Brien said. “We may think we’re doing a good job and communicating through social media or news releases or radio, but the essence of community policing is getting out of the car and talking to people one on one and getting their feedback … We really look forward to doing these, so we’re hoping the public will – as they have – buy into this and give us some really honest feedback.”
Members of the Townsite neighbourhood Block Watch chapters who wish to participate in canvassing the neighbourhood are asked to meet in the parking lot at the corner of Townsite Road and Millstone Avenue on Tuesday, Nov. 15, at 6:30 p.m.
For more information, contact reserve Const. Gary O’Brien at 250-755-3257 or Nanaimo Community Policing co-ordinator Jon Stuart at 250-755-3163.