The leading concern for people in Surrey is the level of crime, according to a recent survey.
An online study conducted by Vancouver’s Insights West marketing firm, polled 973 people from Feb. 25 to March 1 in both Surrey and Vancouver.
While margin of errors can be inexact with online polls, Insights West says the survey is accurate within 4.4 per cent 19 times out of 20.
The survey found the issue most top of mind in Surrey is crime, while the abiding concern in Vancouver is housing.
The amount of people worried about crime in Surrey was 51 per cent, well above other issues, such as transportation (18 per cent) and poverty and education, which were both at six per cent.
Almost half (49 per cent) of Surrey residents asked felt crime has increased in the last five years, and 53 per cent fear becoming a victim of crime a “great deal” or “fair amount.”
Nearly half (48 per cent) of Surrey residents felt unsafe when walking in their neighbourhood after dark, compared to Vancouver residents where only 22 per cent felt that way.
“The concern over crime in Surrey is stated very personally in the unmistakable openness of residents to say that they would feel uneasy if they had to walk in their own neighbourhood at night,” said Mario Canseco, Vice President, Public Affairs at Insights West. “The proportion of Vancouverites who hold similar feelings about their own neighbourhood is smaller.”
Mayor Dianne Watts said Tuesday the poll was conducted on the heels of the brutal murder of hockey mom Julie Paskall in Newton.
“I would expect that the level of fear around crime would be significantly high,” Watts said. “And rightly so.”
She said the city and police have put several measures in place to reduce crime and the fear of it.
“It will take time,” Watts said. “We have to stay on top of it. We have to make sure that we are not backing off for a moment.”
The poll also measured the popularity of the mayors in the two cities.
Mayor Dianne Watts still enjoys an extremely healthy approval rating at 73 per cent. Eighteen per cent disapprove of her job performance and nine per cent were undecided.
In Vancouver, Mayor Gregor Robertson has a 52 per cent approval rating, while 40 per cent disapprove and eight per cent are undecided.
“Mayor Watts holds enviable popularity numbers with an election looming this year,” Canseco said. “Mayor Robertson gets a positive assessment from just over half of residents, but his rating climbs to 60% among respondents aged 18-to-34.”
While statistical margins of error are arguably not applicable to online panels/online studies of this nature, Insights West has assumed that the same margins of error apply as if it were a true unweighted random probability sample with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.