March 13, 2014
SURREY – A poll of Surrey residents found broad support for five measures proposed by New Democrat MLAs to address the health and safety challenges facing B.C.’s fastest-growing city.
The poll, which was commissioned by the New Democrat Opposition Caucus and conducted by Insights West, found that 69 per cent of Surrey residents supported the community safety measures. Only 18 per cent of respondents were opposed.
Respondents were asked whether they supported the Surrey Accord promoted by the MLAs, through which federal, provincial and municipal governments would work in a coordinated way to address the problems of crime, mental health and addictions, and housing in the community. Specific measures proposed in the accord include more policing, community courts, regulating recovery homes, committing to a mental health strategy, and creating more accessible social housing.
“When asked about the Surrey Accord, people across Surrey were very supportive. It’s clear they want to see governments working in a more coordinated fashion to solve the problems facing our community,” said Harry Bains, New Democrat MLA for Surrey-Newton.
The poll also asked residents if they had been following the debate about what measures all levels of government could take to address community safety, and found that nearly three quarters of Surrey residents had been following this issue closely. It also revealed a significant gap in the trust that Surrey residents felt in their provincial government, which only a quarter thought were doing a good job of coming up with solutions to the problems facing Surrey.
“This poll found that people in Surrey are concerned about the same things we are,” said Sue Hammell, New Democrat MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers. “They want solutions from their government, not rhetoric. They want to find solutions to the problems we are seeing in our neighbourhoods, and move towards a safer, healthier future.”
In a related poll conducted by Insights West, half of Surrey residents (51 per cent) listed crime as the top issue facing their city. And when asked about the factors contributing to crime, 69 per cent of those surveyed pointed to insufficient policing, 89 per cent to addictions and mental health issues, 75 per cent cited an inadequate court system, and 69 per cent suggested poverty and inequality.
The poll also asked people in Surrey about their personal safety, and found that 48 per cent of those surveyed said they feel unsafe walking in their own neighbourhood after dark, and 53 per cent are worried about becoming a victim of crime.
“What this shows, loud and clear, is that crime is a serious concern for people in Surrey, and that they want their government to make it a priority,” said Bruce Ralston, New Democrat MLA for Surrey-Whalley.
The poll commissioned by the Opposition Caucus surveyed 501 adults residing in the City of Surrey between Feb. 14 and Feb. 20. It has a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.