Do the math: The survey appears to gauge public safety in N. Battleford

“We found that overall people felt safe, overall they felt confident in their police service, but there were certain areas that they identified as really unsafe,” he said.

“That was largely downtown and there were certain things that really made people feel unsafe,” she said, adding that people were being followed or threatened.

Hodgkinson explained at the time that the community had been at the top of the CSI for the past decade and when the team asked residents a question about victimization, most responses referred to theft rather than violence.

This time the team wanted to see what had changed in the intervening years.


“What the perceptions have been since then, whether there’s been any improvement based on all the work that’s been done in the city to really address some of those fears and whether there’s anything else that’s emerging that we don’t of knowing.”

The original survey consisted of more than 50 questions broken down into different sections, such as demographics, community involvement, police legitimacy and feelings of safety.

“We just streamlined the survey to make it a little more accessible. We’re also trying to establish some health measures – just about our understanding of the trade-off between safety and health.”

According to Wendy Verity, a PhD candidate studying at the University of Saskatchewan’s Department of Community Health and Epidemiology and the local project coordinator, the topic piqued her interest. A Battlefords resident herself, she lived in the community during the “Crime Town” era. She was involved in mental health research and wanted to contact Hodgkinson to see if it was possible to return to the project to do an update. In 2022, they received permission from the city to continue.

“She was interested, I was interested, and the city of North Battleford was interested and so we thought, let’s do it.”

“My interest is mainly in the relationship with mental health and sleep with safety and connection,” says Verity.

To collect the data, they reached out in various ways, including prospecting.

“We’ve had pop-ups, like setting up a library or the Co-op shopping centre, I’ve visited the Friendship Centre, I’ve gone around and visited companies and asked them to get their employees to take part in the survey. ,” she said

“I stopped working at daycare centers and schools.”

To help reach all areas, students from North West College – who were also involved in the initial survey – joined in to spread information.

“We’re taking what we learned — what Tarah learned — from the 2018 survey and applying it and just trying to be strategic and smart in the moments that we’re in the community,” she said, noting that people don’t always answers. their door.

The updated research, meanwhile, seems to be getting a sense of the city.

“There is also a positive twist to it. We don’t just want to focus on the negative, but also look at the strengths of the community,” she said.

Bad reputation

According to Hodgkinson, the town’s CSI assessment is neither accurate nor fair as the community has a small population.

“It takes all the crime in the city and multiplies it by different levels of severity, right,” she said, noting that from there it was distributed by population.

“If you divide a large number by a small number, you get a large number.”

Hodgkinson explained that if one murder occurred in both Saskatoon and North Battleford within a year, Saskatoon would have a murder rate of 0.37. The murder rate in North Battleford is reported to be 7.14.

“That’s how much population matters and influences, right? So it’s still one murder, but the population really influences the numbers and severity of the crimes,” she said, noting that she wanted to investigate what made the city’s CSI tick.

“It was actually a mischief,” she said.

“That raised real questions about what crimes are actually happening in North Battleford and what North Battleford is actually dealing with compared to other cities in the province.”

The researcher, without citing that context, said it was “extremely irresponsible” for news media to report on the city’s CSI and thus its reputation as the “crime capital of Canada.”

“No, it’s not actually that,” she said, adding that it is no more violent than other places.

“There are other communities in Saskatchewan that are much more violent.”

As a result of that reputation, Hodgkinson says there are effects on the way people view their city and how safe they feel.


Meanwhile, Verity said others are responding online, but to get a real sample, researchers have to get creative. To do that, different methods must be used to collect data. They are still doing that and want to close the survey later this month. The preliminary findings will be published sometime this summer, but the full report will be released next year.

“We obviously hope that safety has improved. I think people generally felt quite safe from the first survey,” she said.

“The City of North Battlefords has made a number of efforts over the past five years that we hope are making a difference.”

Meanwhile, at the connection level, the team hopes that there will also be a healthy reality.

“We obviously don’t want to be biased in research, but we’re also people who hope that communities… become safer and more connected and, you know, promote well-being.”

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