How safe do you feel walking alone in your neighborhood? Are there specific areas you avoid due to concerns about safety and crime? Have you experienced crime firsthand?

These questions are part of the Community Safety and Well-being Survey being conducted by the City of Portage la Prairie. The survey covers various aspects of community safety, including perceptions of crime, emergency response times, and public services.

City Councillor Colin Doyle explains the survey is part of the long-term development of the Community Safety and Well-Being Plan which is funded by the Government of Manitoba through the Canadian Centre for Safer Communities. Portage lobbied to participate in the program and was selected as one of 12 qualifying communities in 2022.

Doyle says the city is aiming to engage a diverse range of participants, "We are looking for input from everyone in our city, everyone surrounding our city and repeat visitors to our city because it is important to get that feedback from people as to what they think even when they are just visiting.". 

Doyle acknowledges the survey's duration, estimated at 15-20 minutes, expressing gratitude for participants' time and ensuring their concerns are heard. "We understand that is a significant amount of time however, public safety has always been front and centre so this is your opportunity to give your opinions so we can build this program, a program that works for all of our citizens." 

The survey is confidential, which Doyle says is intended to promote honest communication.

"We want the most raw answers that we can get. We don't want anything sugar coated; we need that raw data so we can come up with the right plan."

Doyle explains the city will endeavour to include those who have limited access to the survey by delivering paper copies to places like local care homes and the hospital. Participants should be aware the survey asks questions about experiences with several crimes, including domestic violence, assault, and sexual assault. Specific details regarding experiences will not be asked; however, a list of resources has been included should citizens need or wish to discuss experiences in more detail.

Once compiled, Doyle says the city will use the information to further develop the Community Safety and Well-being Plan."We take this data and use the framework to inform our program for Portage. We want to be able to take care of issues as they arise and get ahead of things so we can help stop issues before they even become issues." The survey closes on July 31st, 2024. Next steps of the public engagement process will include focus groups and other methods of connecting with the community.