Most Canadians feel safe from crime

Statistics Canada reports 93 per cent of adult Canadians surveyed said they felt safe from crime.

Statistics Canada survey suggests 93 per cent are satisfied with their personal safety

Justice Miniser Rob Nicholson defends his omnibus crime bill in the House of Commons Tuesday, prior to votes at report stage Wednesday. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Statistics Canada says the vast majority of Canadians feel they are safe from crime.

The agency has released a study of Canadians age 15 and older which says 93 per cent of those surveyed said they felt satisfied with their personal safety from crime.

The agency says the 2009 study produced results similar to those of the last survey done in 2004, before the Conservatives took power and began their tough-on-crime campaign.

Crime rates overall have been falling for a decade.

Youth crime is one of the few areas that has risen, yet the study says slightly more younger Canadians were satisfied with their personal safety from crime than older Canadians -- 94 per cent of those ages 15-24 compared to 90 per cent aged 65 years and older.

About 83 per cent of respondents said they were not at all worried when home alone in the evening, while 90 per cent who walked alone in their neighbourhoods at night said they felt safe doing so.

The Conservative government of Stephen Harper has made controversial anti-crime legislation a central tenet of its mandate, claiming Canadians want Ottawa to get tough on crime.

Critics complain the Tory legislation boosting sentences for some crimes, imposing mandatory minimums and stripping two-for-one credit for time served is based more on ideology than evidence.

Opposition MPs and some provinces -- which stand to bear the brunt of costs to keep more people in jail and for longer periods -- have complained the Conservatives ignored the advice of experts and did not provide cost estimates for their sweeping changes.

The study indicates those living in Eastern Canada, where crime rates are generally lower, were more satisfied with their personal safety than Westerners, who form the base of Tory support.

But not by much.

Residents of Prince Edward Island were among those with the highest levels of satisfaction, at 97 per cent, while residents in British Columbia were among those with the lowest, at 89 per cent.

Among cities, levels of satisfaction with personal safety were highest in Moncton, N.B. and Kingston, Guelph and Oshawa, Ont. They were lowest in Vancouver, Winnipeg and Edmonton.