After an increase in shootings and violent incidents in 2018, a new poll shows the majority of Torontonians have fears of falling victim to gun violence in the city.
Ipsos asked residents several questions regarding safety and violence in the city following the Danforth shooting which happened last month that left two people dead and 13 others injured.
“We really wanted to gauge the temperature of the city of Toronto. How are people feeling after a particularly intense period in which there’s been a number of things happening in the city, culminating with what happened on the Danforth,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs.
ABOVE: Majority of Torontonians agree their city has a serious gun problem.
“When you ask them — ‘Is the city a safe place?’ — they say yes. But when you ask them about something like gun violence — ‘Is it bad? Is it getting worse?’ — their perception is that it is getting worse.”
The poll found 55 per cent of Torontonians agree that they are afraid of becoming a victim to gun violence and among the most fearful are millennials at 68 per cent, followed by Gen Xers at 59 per cent and Boomers at 43 per cent.
“When we asked people, “Do you think, in general, gun violence is a problem in the city?” all ages pretty much feel the same,” Bricker said.
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“Half of us are worried about it and I think these incidents are having some impact on it. So people are modifying their behaviour based on what they perceive as questions of safety. Whether it’s the neighbourhoods they walk in, or how they go outside to spend time with their family and friends in the city of Toronto, it is having an impact on our confidence.”
The polling also broke down those feelings of fear based on neighbourhoods and results show that 61 per cent of people living in North York are fearful of falling victim to gun violence.
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People living in Etobicoke, York and Scarborough were slightly less fearful of falling victim to gun violence at 55 per cent and those who reported being least fearful were residents living downtown and East York at 51 per cent.
“There’s a lot of reasons for why people are fearful of crime, even if it’s statistically very unlikely that they’ll be a victim of said crime. One thing that we do know is that people tend to have very strong emotional, visceral reactions to extreme violence and crimes that they don’t see quite a bit,” said Jooyoung Lee, associate professor of Sociology with University of Toronto.
“I think that people’s feelings are always warranted. … One of the things that makes the city great and resilient is the fact that there is such a rich community life at various levels. So I would encourage people to not change their lives. I would say that Toronto is still quite safe.”
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos survey conducted between July 25–30, 2018, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a random sample of 800 Toronto residents aged 18+ were interviewed online via the Ipsos I-Say panel and non-panel sources. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online surveys is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the survey is accurate to within ±4.0 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Toronto residents over the age of 18 been surveyed. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.