Calgary seen as safe by most, but even safer in reality

Calgary seen as safe by most, but even safer in reality”

Christine Brouzes, a Winnipeg social worker and director of Ikwe Safe Rides - a Winnipeg ride-sharing group - said she feels safe in the city most of the time but she takes precautions before she walks alone.

Montreal is considered the third most risky of 15 major cities, according to a survey of 2,050 Canadian adults conducted last week.

That seemed accurate so far as the increase in crime in 2016.

David Valentin, executive vice-president of Mainstreet, stressed that the majority of those surveyed deemed Montreal to be "safe" - 45 per cent compared with 43 per cent, giving it a rating of 2.

Ottawa came out on top in the Mainstreet poll: 74 per cent think it is safe.

The poll had similar findings in Ontario, where Toronto boasted the nation's lowest crime rate but was deemed the second most unsafe city in Canada behind Winnipeg. Winnipeg (-19) is seen as the most risky (a difference of 19 per cent).

Statistic Canada numbers tell a different story, Valentin said.

Attempted murder, aggravated sexual assaults, sexual assaults with a weapon and other sexual offences, including those against children, all saw dramatic increases compared with 2015.

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That number is down from the 56% of a year ago, but still puts Winnipeg behind the likes of Toronto (52% unsafe) and prairie neighbours Regina (33%) and Saskatoon (41%) in terms of perception of safety, according to Mainstreet.

Montreal was ranked 13 out of 15 Canadian cities for perceived safety, followed by Toronto at 14. "Even though Edmonton has high crime rates and the crime severity index is higher than Calgary, it's seen as safer across the board", he said.

"It definitely had an effect on crime rates but, because of the news coverage, that amplified", he said. That number rose to 37% this year.

"Despite all we see and all we hear, it's a safe city", said Anie Samson, president of the public security commission, when the police report was released.

"National news about Ottawa can sometimes be bad news, but it is rarely about crime or violent crime".

The news on social media is not dictated by what is being broadcast or printed, he continued.

Doug King, a justice studies professor at Mount Royal University, said the poll, while interesting, holds questionable value given how easily the results can be influenced by just one major crime story.

According to a poll conducted by Mainstreet Research for Postmedia, Canadians across the country believe Winnipeg to be the most unsafe city nation wide.

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