Langley city residents generally like where they live, but they are more worried than they used to be about the impact of homelessness and crime on their quality of life.
In fact, a new poll conducted for the city shows that concern over social issues and crime is at an “all-time high,” in the words of the Ipsos report presented to council Monday night (July 25).
The 2016 telephone survey found perceptions of Langley’s overall quality of life remain highly favourable with nearly all citizens rating the overall quality of life in Langley as either ‘very good’ or ‘good’.
But there is slightly more pessimism than there was three years ago, Catherine Knaus of Ipsos Public Affairs said.
Concerns about social issues such as homelessness and lack of affordable housing, along with crime “have increased significantly this year as compared to 2013 and represent a new all-time high,” the report noted.
Crime-related mentions were also at a new all-time high.
Residents who think their quality of life has worsened cited “increased poverty/homelessness” (34 per cent) and crime (19 per cent cite “increased crime/drug activity).”
Most see Langley as a generally safe place to live, with seven out of 10 residents agreeing with the statement that ‘the City of Langley is a place where residents feel safe and secure’.
But, when asked whether they generally feel more or less secure, 47 per cent said less.
While a strong majority (94 per cent) of residents said they feel safe when visiting downtown Langley in the daytime, they were less likely to say “very safe” than they were in 2013.
During the evening, slightly more than half, or 56 per cent said they feel safe when visiting downtown Langley.
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Most residents give the city administration high marks for openness, better than the B.C. average.
There was strong support for the statements that the ‘City of Langley is accountable to the community for leadership and good governance’ and ‘the City of Langley believes in and practices open and accessible government’.
The new city hall phone system, however, barely managed a passing grade.
Among people who used the pre-recorded menu of options, just over half said they were satisfied with their experience while a large minority said they are not satisfied, including nearly three out of 10 who were ‘not at all satisfied’.
Mayor Ted Schaffer said the survey results are valuable information, even when the results are less than positive.
“We as a council recognize these issues,” Schaffer said.
“Without having some of the negatives (to study), you can’t move forward.”
The mayor was pleased that residents gave council high marks for openness.
Ipsos conducted a total of 601 telephone interviews with a randomly selected sample of Langley residents aged 18 years or older.
Overall results are considered accurate to within plus or minus four percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Ipsos has been polling city residents every three years since 2004.