2016 Ontario Community Safety Survey

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2016 Ontario Community Safety Survey

Polices Services Held in High Regard Across Ontario

Some see crime, relations with the community getting worse

TORONTO December 22nd – In a random sampling of public opinion taken by The Forum Poll™ among 7729 Ontario residents of 38 towns that have their own police forces, the vast majority feel safe in their communities, have confidence in their police services, and find them trustworthy and courteous; just slightly fewer are satisfied with the last time they encountered a police officer and are satisfied with their police services overall. Some feel, however, that there is more crime in the past year, or that the relationship between the police and the community has gotten worse in the past year.

Vast majority feel safe in their city

Almost all respondents feel safe in their communities (87%) and one half feel “very safe” (48%). Feeling very safe is common to the oldest (54%), males (51%) rather than females (45%) and among those who claim a middle eastern background (54%).

Confidence in police very high

The vast majority are confident in their local police (82%), and as many as 4-in-10 (44%) have a great deal of confidence. High confidence in police is characteristic of the oldest (57%), the least educated (50%) and aboriginal Canadians (51%).

Almost all find their police trustworthy

The vast majority say their police are trustworthy (84%) and close to half say they are very trustworthy (47%). High trust in police is common to the oldest (58%).

Half see police as “very courteous”

Almost all find their police courteous (85%) and almost half find them “very courteous” (48%). Seeing the police as very polite is common to the oldest (62%), females (53%) rather than males (44%), the least educated (55%) and aboriginal Canadians (55%).

Satisfaction with police interactions high

Among the one half of respondents who had an encounter with a police officer in the past year (48%), the wide majority are satisfied with the interaction (79%), and more than half found it “very satisfactory” (56%). High satisfaction with a recent police interaction is characteristic of the oldest (69%), the least educated (63%) and aboriginal Canadians (60%).

Three quarters are satisfied overall

When respondents are asked about their satisfaction overall with the police services they have received in the past year, three quarters are satisfied (72%) and as many as 4-in-10 find the service “very satisfactory” (39%). High satisfaction overall is common to the oldest (45%), eastern Ontario (44%), the least educated (44%) and aboriginal Canadians (51%).

Twice as many see more crime than see less crime this year

One quarter of respondents say there is more crime in their communities now than a year ago (25%), while less than half this proportion, about a tenth, say there is less crime (11%). As many as one half say crime levels have not changed (49%) and about one sixth don’t have an opinion (16%).

Plurality say police treat everyone fairly

The plurality of those asked, about 4-in-10, say the police treat everyone fairly (38%), while just fewer say they treat people “somewhat fairly” (33%). One seventh say police do not treat everyone fairly at all (14%) and a similar proportion don’t venture an opinion (15%).

One fifth see relations between community and police as worse now

While one half say relations between their community and the police have not changed in the past year (49%), one fifth see the relationship getting worse (21%), while fewer see it getting better (15%). A similar proportion don’t offer an opinion (15%).

Violent crime seen as top priority for police

Violent crime is seen as the top police priority by one half (48%), and is followed by property crime (15%), drug crime (14%), and improving relations with the community (14%). Few see traffic enforcement as a priority (9%).

Just more than one tenth are crime victims

Just more than a tenth have been victims of a crime in the past year (13%), and this is most common among the youngest (19%), aboriginal Canadians (23%), black Canadians (20%) and those who identify as a minority (18%).


“It appears that, with some local variations, Ontario’s local police forces do a very good job securing their communities, and getting along with those they serve and protect. That being said, it also appears that some see crime on the rise, and some are less than satisfied with their interactions with the police," said Forum Research Vice President, William Schatten.

William Schatten, is the Vice President of Research and Analytics at Forum Research. He can be reached at wschatten@forumresearch.com or at (416) 960-1310.