LETHBRIDGE - In the coming days and weeks, about 1,500 stakeholders and residents in Lethbridge will be asked to take part in two surveys, to share their concerns and opinions on community safety, police performance, and police management of financial resources.
They will be the most comprehensive studies ever conducted, according to Insp. Tom Ascroft, with Lethbridge Police Service.
"We want to make sure we're spending the taxpayers’ dollars in the way that the community wants us to. It's not uncommon for subject matter experts to determine what's best, and we don't think in this case it's the way we should be proceeding. So, we're asking what the public thinks about where we should be heading."
Lethbridge College's Dr. Faron Ellis and the Citizen Society Research Lab will be in charge of calling random residents beginning Sunday, Feb. 11, until Thursday, Feb. 15. The resident questionnaire, includes questions such as:
- Overall, how safe do you feel in your neighborhood?
- How would you rate the job Lethbridge Police Service are doing in policing our community?
- Have your feelings of safety in your neighborhood changed in the last year?
- Overall, how safe do you feel when you visit downtown Lethbridge for work, business, shopping or entertainment?
- Overall, how would you rate Lethbridge Police Services' officers attitudes and behaviours?
The survey also asks respondents to recommend priorities including:
- Traffic enforcement
- Community visibility
- Drug addiction issues
- Crime prevention programs
Ellis says they've also sent out about 1,000 invitations to stakeholders to take part in a more comprehensive survey; the first time it's ever been done.
"We are doing our best to get as many people as possible. It's not a probability study," he explains. "So, we're not looking for some random samples. We're essentially sending it out to everybody we can identify as a stakeholder and get their contact information."
Any business or stakeholder (owner, operator, manager) who has not received an invitation to the survey, can contact Lethbridge College to get access to it.
"We want to hear from as many people as possible," says Ellis.
The stakeholder survey is seven pages long and asks respondents to rate safety in several areas of Lethbridge, to rate how well or how poorly of an overall job LPS is doing in a number of specified areas, whether special constables or peace officers should be used more often, and how LPS is financially managing city resources.
Ellis says it will take about a month to gather all the information, process it, and give the results to police.
From there, Chief Rob Davis explains they'll use the information to identify and prioritize the direction and delivery of police services as LPS develops its next four-year budget and strategic plan in the fall.
"We might think something is priority one, whereas the citizens feel item three might be priority one, so it's important we have that feedback from the citizens to help spend the money in the next four-year cycle, so we're serving the needs of the citizens to ensure community safety."
Davis adds that they'll look at the data to see where it aligns with their internal data and crime statistics, and where the junctions occur is where they'll lend more resources.
"We want to make sure we're using actual data, to drive our decision making."
For more stakeholder information, contact [email protected], or go to https://lethbridgecollege.ca/departments/citizen-society-research-lab
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