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Some Albertans feel less safe since the pandemic started: poll

Click to play video: 'Albertan’s perception of safety'
Albertan’s perception of safety
WATCH: The pandemic affected how safe people are feeling in their communities, according to an Ipsos poll for Global News. As Sarah Komadina explains, Albertans feel the least safe in the country walking in their own neighbourhoods during the day – Mar 11, 2023

Canadians feel that there has been more violence in the community since the COVID-19 pandemic started, according to a recent poll by Ipsos done on behalf of Global News.

In Alberta, there is a general sense of some people feeling more unsafe. Forty-four per cent said there appears to be more violence in the community since COVID-19, and they feel less safe where they live compared to a year ago. Forty per cent said they would not walk alone at night in their neighbourhood.

“Albertans actually feel the least safe walking in their own neighbourhoods. Two in 10 Albertans say they don’t feel safe walking in their own neighbourhood during the broad daylight,” Ipsos public affairs senior vice president Sean Simpson said.

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“Many saw the pandemic as a tipping point for this country and believe that since the pandemic, violence has become worse in their own communities.”

Simpson said this is due to a couple of reasons.

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“First, because of the increased mental health challenges that emerge as a result of the pandemic, and the second is the pandemic clearly laid bare the inequality in our society.”

Edmonton city councillor Andrew Knack said, while it’s not a majority of people feeling this way, these concerns need to be taken seriously.

“Before I was on council I used to run a retail business, and if I had stats that showed two out of 10 customers … didn’t feel safe, I would be really worried about that stat,” Knack said.

“For folks not to feel safe to go out … to go to the bank or get groceries, that’s really troubling.”

Knack said part of that feeling could be because people couldn’t get together and build trust within their neighbourhood for years, and now work needs to be done to repair peoples’ perception.

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“One of the best ways to help with safety is to have people know one another and to have people connect with each other,” Knack said.

“When you know folks in your community and you’re out on a walk, you see those folks, you continue to build up that connection, you remember those folks that you see and at the same time it allows you to know what may be out of the ordinary.”

“When you’re never coming together to connect with one another, everything feels out of the ordinary.”

Knack said the city is working on initiatives to help, including investment in transit safety and police refocusing it’s patrol efforts in higher crime areas.

“Recognizing not everything we need to fully address is solely going to be solved by having more police officers or more ongoing enforcement, there’s other actions that are needed to build up community safety and that overall sense of safety.”

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