Residents are confident in the Delta Police Department’s ability to deliver urgent services, but want officers to be more visible in the community.
That’s according to the results of a public survey released by the DPD on Wednesday morning. The survey, held over three weeks in late November and early December 2018, asked respondents about the importance and performance of key police services, whether they had had contact with the DPD, and what issues they see impacting Delta in the future.
Approximately 280 people responded to the survey, providing a statistically relevant sample size according to a DPD press release, and they provided a total of 312 comments on a wide range of topics.
“The survey gave us a chance to assess how we’re doing in the first six months of our Community Safety Plan, working to build safe communities and relationships. And it helps us assess our capacity to deliver on people’s expectations,” Chief Neil Dubord said in a press release.
“We’re constantly striving to improve our services to the public through techniques such as this survey, through general feedback and social media dialogue.”
Respondents thought the DPD did well in delivering urgent services in a timely manner; dealing with violent crime; having clear and transparent communication through strong social media programs; and consulting with the community to ensure the DPD is meeting their needs and expectations.
“I’m very pleased that 74 per cent of residents give a good to very good rating of officers they had contact with, and 80 per cent of people feel we do a good to very good job of delivering urgent services in a timely manner, well above the Canadian average,” Dubord said.
In terms of areas where police can improve, respondents identified traffic-related matters including safety and flow; the prevention and detection of property crime; having a visible presence in all parts of the community; and preventing and investigating intimate partner violence.
At the Delta police board meeting Wednesday morning, Dubord said the department was most surprised to see the latter on the list of areas the Delta police can improve upon.
“That one caught us off-guard,” Dubord told the board. “I’ve never seen that one before in relation to a survey and we’re still trying to unpack that and figure out exactly how that came about.”
In the press release, Dubord pointed out that of those impacted by crime, 22 per cent of Delta residents indicated they did not report the crime to police, versus the national average of 31 per cent.
“Since our motto is ‘No Call Too Small,’ I am encouraged this is making a demonstrable difference,” he said.
The survey also highlighted some distinctions between Delta’s three main communities. For example, Tsawwassen residents were the most concerned about traffic issues, while population growth and an increase in younger adults stood out as an issue in upper North Delta.
“Now that the survey is concluded, the public is probably wondering what’s next,” Dubord said. “So to answer what’s next, we’re looking at increased traffic enforcement, ways to improve police visibility in our communities and ensuring we have the right training and focus to address issues such as property crime, scams and frauds, youth at risk and domestic violence.”