Thanks to the residents who participated in the residents’ association safety and security questionnaire, which we had in the field in late 2017. The survey results were presented to the CRA Annual General Meeting held on June 8, 2018.
The area the Cabbagetown Residents’ Association represents – bounded by Gerrard to the north, Parliament to the west, St. James Cemetery to the north and the Don Valley to the east – covers around 2,000 households and 4,000 people.
Our questionnaire, which we promoted via our Cabbagetowner e-newsletter (627 subscribers), Facebook page (500+ followers) and Twitter account (1,900+ followers), drew 132 responses, of which 114 identified that they lived within the CRA boundaries. The numbers below are based on the responses from those 114 individuals.
Respondents were most concerned about personal safety: CRA’s past president Phil Frei, who has gone over all the survey responses in details, said he grouped together a variety of responses under the umbrella of personal safety, such as concerns about walking at night, muggers, and panhandlers on Parliament Street.
* Personal safety: 32 per cent
* Break-in/thefts: 28 per cent
* Violent crime/shootings: 13 per cent
* Other: 10 per cent (includes road safety issues with cars and bicycles)
* Drugs: eight per cent
The remaining 10 per cent said they had no/little concern, or left the question blank.
Of those who responded, 55 per cent said they had experienced a theft, or attempted theft or vandalism, at their home, 73 per cent said they had experienced a theft, or attempted theft or vandalism, of their car, and 59 per cent said they had experienced a theft, or attempted theft or vandalism, of their bicycle.
Des Ryan, a retired police officer and CRA board director who is the volunteer lead on safety and security issues for the CRA, points out that people who have experienced a theft would be more disposed to respond to a questionnaire on safety issues because they had heightened awareness due to that personal experience. He cautions against extrapolating the experience of 60 to 80 people into percentages for all Cabbagetowners and our households.
Nearly three-quarters of the respondents who had experienced a theft or other crime had reported it to police. About one third got a response from police, usually a follow-up on investigation. Why did the others not report to police? Among the responses:
* The police wouldn’t do anything
* It was my fault for leaving the door open / unlocked
* It’s not serious enough to report.
Des reminds everyone to report everything, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, because the police allocate resources based on reporting: it was only when more people reported on vandalism to their cars parked on the streets this winter, for instance, that police understood there was a pattern and likely common perpetrators.