A crime incident map shows where arson fires happened in Nanaimo in 2021. Nanaimo RCMP and Vancouver Island University criminology students will conduct neighbourhood safety audits to gauge areas of concern around crime and perceptions of safety. (City of Nanaimo image)

A crime incident map shows where arson fires happened in Nanaimo in 2021. Nanaimo RCMP and Vancouver Island University criminology students will conduct neighbourhood safety audits to gauge areas of concern around crime and perceptions of safety. (City of Nanaimo image)

Next round of safety audits happening in Nanaimo’s University District and Diver Lake area

Audits look at crime and crime perceptions and create awareness about neighbourhood safety

Safety audits in and around the downtown showed people feel unsafe walking at night, and now residents in two other areas will be consulted.

Nanaimo Community Policing with support from RCMP and Vancouver Island University criminology practicum students will be out in the University District and Diver Lake neighbourhood conducting safety audits.

The new round of audits is an continuation of the program carried out in six neighbourhoods in 2021, when 746 residents and businesses participated in the program by voicing concerns that helped police implement strategies to reduce crime and increase perceptions of safety among the public, according to a Nanaimo RCMP press release.

READ ALSO: Safety audits show residents in and around Nanaimo’s downtown feel unsafe

“The data collected from the safety audits provides a real-time snap shot of safety issues that are impacting the participating neighbourhoods,” said reserve Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, in the release. “In turn, it allows us to address the real issues instead of what the police perceive the issues to be.”

RCMP say the project benefits neighbourhoods by allowing residents to voice their experiences with crime, influence the direction of the project and strengthen relationships with police. It also helps residents work together with their neighbours to identify crime in their areas.

Christy Wood, program coordinator, said engagement is already underway with residents in the University District and Diver Lake area.

“Engagement with the neighbourhood starts first by reaching out and chatting and hearing back from them about how best to engage their area,” Wood said.

The initial outreach is intended to collect information about the issues that are foremost in the minds of residents. That information creates the basis for surveys sent out to residents.

“From there we use that kind of information to pinpoint where we want to do the [safety] audit, set a date and then we do the actual survey,” Wood said.

For more information or to get involved, e-mail christy.wood@nanaimo.ca. For information about previous safety audits, visit www.nanaimocpvolunteers.ca.



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