An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
DO WE REALLY NEED a survey about what needs fixing on the streets of Kamloops?
The Kamloops Voters Society thinks so. Its online survey on street crime wrapped up yesterday. The society says it was a chance for residents to have a voice on the issue.
The survey, though, will change nothing as far as finding solutions goes. The voters society has no solutions to propose.
The poll included a baker’s dozen of questions, including demographics such as where you live, what kind of housing you live in, whether you own or rent, etc. If the objective is to gauge the extent of problems in various neighbourhoods and types of housing, RCMP could provide stats that would be much more accurate.
However, the answers to some questions will yield useful information about perceptions and actions.
For example, one asked if, “Since 2018, have you seen an increase in the number of street entrenched persons in your neighbourhood?”
Another asked if safety concerns have resulted in changes to shopping or entertainment habits, and if there are areas of town in which you feel less safe.
Questions like that might tend to stereotype neighbourhoods but it will be interesting to see if perceptions about safety in certain areas match actual police activity. They may also identify whether people are even bothering to report suspicious activity.
One outcome of the survey is predictable. That’s the part that asks if people are satisfied with the response of police, the City, Community Services Officers or social agencies to the problem.
If any of them receives better than a failing report card it will be surprising.
Mostly, the survey is an interesting but not game-changing exercise.
There’s much to be said, though, for making people feel they have a voice. It’s something a lot of folks probably feel they haven’t had up to this point, so good on the voters’ society for trying to give them one.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at email@example.com.