Residents of six Nanaimo neighborhoods fear walking streets at night, audit finds


Residents of six Nanaimo neighborhoods have expressed fear of walking their streets at night and fear being attacked or robbed.

They also offered the RCMP their ideas for solutions and, in some cases, found that other concerns had been improved.

The RCMP today released its findings on audits conducted in May to verify the community’s perception of security.

746 residents and businesses participated, walking the streets with officers and pointing out specific challenges. They spoke of issues ranging from “addressing the cause of drug use rather than just the symptoms”, to “improving infrastructure such as more lighting, pedestrian crossings and a strategy to manage vacant lots”.

Some of the findings of the audit, based on responses from residents in each neighborhood:


Nob Hill Park Historically the area around the park has been difficult. Some of the challenges have been attributed to single-room apartment buildings operating in the area which are known to engage in prostitution and drug trafficking.

Audit participants noted, however, that there had been drastic improvements to the park and area with the sale of 2 of the single occupancy buildings. There have been some improvements to the park and regular visits from the Canadian Mental Health Association’s own team.

Neighbors became concerned about the small number of children using the park. There were also concerns about drug use, discarded needles and drug paraphernalia found in the park.

Old Town District:

80% of respondents said they, someone they know or a business they frequent had been the victim of a burglary in the past year, and half said they- themselves or someone they knew had been robbed, harassed or physically assaulted.

While 86% of residents said they felt safe walking alone during the day, a majority did not feel safe walking alone at night.

Hare wood:

While Harewood residents’ generally positive views of their neighborhood are encouraging, “there is clear evidence from other data that these residents are concerned about neighborhood safety and crime.”

51% of respondents said they were dissatisfied or very dissatisfied with their personal safety in the neighbourhood. “In terms of why these residents felt unsafe in their neighborhoods, the most common responses were around issues of homelessness, drug and crime use, and road safety. Several respondents mentioned that they suspected certain houses in their neighborhood were involved in the sale of illicit substances.

South end:

“Respondents also showed great trust in neighbours, co-workers and local businesses. Despite the generally positive view of the neighborhood among South End residents, a very significant portion of the survey sample expressed concerns about safety and crime in the neighborhood.

62% of respondents said they felt unsafe or very safe walking alone at night, and a majority thought it was likely or very likely that they would be harassed at some point during the night. over the next twelve months. »

One respondent wrote that road rage and other dangerous driving behaviors in the neighborhood are the top concerns.

Brechin Hill:

72% of respondents said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their general feeling of safety in the neighbourhood. However, around 48% of respondents felt it was likely or very likely that they would be the victim of a burglary within the next twelve months.

Newcastle (includes portions of Terminal Avenue, Vancouver Avenue, etc.)

“Many respondents highlighted the presence of homeless people in the neighborhood as a major reason for not feeling safe, as well as people who use drugs or have mental health issues.

The vast majority of respondents said they believe addressing these issues should be a top priority. Some respondents said they believe these issues should be addressed through policing and law enforcement, while others advocated for wider implementation of treatment options for people. in need, as well as community crime prevention initiatives.

Next steps:

The RCMP says the next step is to “implement the recommended crime prevention program, in partnership with neighborhoods, and then share the reports with decision makers and other appropriate agencies.”

“The response of residents and businesses to neighborhood safety checks has shown how much people really care about their neighborhoods,” said Christy Wood, Community Policing Coordinator for the Nanaimo RCMP.

Community Police Services plan to revisit the areas of Brechin Hill, Newcastle, South End, Harewood, Old City and the city center in 2-3 years to see if their perception has changed. However, “with the support of VIU Criminology Practicum students, new neighborhoods willing to get involved will be engaged in early 2022.”

Individual reports are available here.


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