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Crime top issue among Winnipeg residents, politicians and media

Crime is still a hot button issue for many Canadians, but nowhere in the country more so than Winnipeg.

In
Global’s exclusive “Canada’s Pulse” poll conducted by Ipsos-Reid,
crime is listed as the fifth most pressing local issue across Canada.

However,
50 per cent of Winnipeg residents polled said crime is the number one
issue facing their community today. That’s twice as high as Edmonton,
where 27 per cent of residents list crime as the most important issue in
their community. The national average was 8 per cent.

This
drastic difference between Winnipeggers and the rest of the country may
not come as shock – Manitoba is the violent province Canada per capita,
and Winnipeg is the province’s most violent city. Statistics Canada
confirms that Manitoba also had the highest robbery, homicide and sexual
assault rate in the country.

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Sixty-two per cent of Winnipeg
residents polled said they do not feel safe walking home alone at night,
the highest of all regions polled.

It is also not surprising that more people in Winnipeg – 69 per cent – support the federal government’s plan to build more prisons than any other region in Canada. The national average was 53 per cent of those polled supporting new prisons.

What
is surprising however when respondents were asked if they have been a
victim of crime in the past two years, only 22 per cent of Winnipeg
residents polled said yes.

Vancouver led the pack with 26 per
cent of residents saying they have been a victim of crime in the past
two years. The west coast city was also the only region polled that had
an increase in reported crimes since 2010.

While personal crimes in Winnipeg are down, the city is witnessing an increase in gang-related crime.

“You
don’t have to be a victim of gang crime to list it as one of your top
concerns,” says Kyle Braid from Ipsos-Reid. “Gang crime is one of those
things that is very concerning but not necessarily something people are
impacted by personally.”

Violent crime is also heavily reported in the media in Winnipeg, and is the centre of many political debates.

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“The
media tends to over-report on crime issues,” says Christopher Adams,
Vice President of Winnipeg-based Probe Research Inc. “This furthers the
perception that crime should be the number one issue.”

“The media
reacts with front page headlines to every violent crime and politicians
fall all over-themselves promising tougher measures, usually more
police and more prisons,” says Michael Weinrath, Professor and Chair in
the Criminal Justice Department at the University of Winnipeg.

“It
seems to have reached a tipping point in Winnipeg where people are
determined to believe the worst no matter if the crime rate is going
down or not,” says Weinrath.

If Winnipeggers are looking to
relocate to a place where crime low on the radar, they might want to
consider moving to New Brunswick – only one per cent of New Brunswickers
polled said crime is the most important issue facing their communities. 

 

 

These are the findings of an Ipsos-Reid poll conducted between August 26 to September 1, 2011 on behalf of Global Television. For this survey, a sample of 6,883 Canadians from Ipsos’ Canadian online panel.

A survey with an unweighted probability sample of this size and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of:

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+/-4.8 percentage points for each individual city/region, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had the entire population of that particular city or region been polled;

+/-1.2 percentage points for the national Canadian population, 19 times out of 20, of what the results would have been had the entire population of adults living in Canada been polled.