Is Prince George safe? Is anywhere?
And feedback on the future
Good morning. Today I try to answer the most googled question about Prince George.
Downtown Prince George will be celebrating Plaid Friday this, er, Friday which will include several events. There’s quite a few new shops opened over the past year so if you haven’t been down to check them out this is a good opportunity.
Also on Friday, Coldsnap Music Festival will be making some sort of an announcement. Their 2023 lineup is up already, so curious what it will be.
Gig workers — such as Skip The Dishes or rideshare drivers — are being asked to take part in a roundtable this Friday with the B.C. government to give feedback on what could be done to make their jobs better. Registration or written comment can be submitted to email@example.com. Also, it’s worth noting that it wasn’t that long ago we didn’t have any of these services in Prince George. I’m curious what it’s like for the folks who do it, and if the economy of scale is there to make it a fulltime thing.
UNBC is also looking for feedback on how to shape its future. Townhalls will start this month and go into early 2023.
I’m also told there are a series of focus groups being set up by the city with different organizations to find out how to best market Prince George on a national stage. Will be looking for details on that.
Barb Ward-Burkitt is being celebrated for 50 years working with first the Quesnel and now the Prince George Native Friendship Centres.
Prince George city councillor Cori Ramsay has questions about premier David Eby’s new housing plan, particularly his intention to give cities building targets. Those questions are shared by the Union of B.C. Municipalities and political columnist Rob Shaw.
I am fascinated by this person from Seattle whose bucket list trip this Christmas is either Banff or Prince George. If they come to Prince George, we better show them a good time.
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Is Prince George safe?
How you answer this question is directly informed by how you define “safe”
I soft-mod the Prince George subreddit and one of the most frequently asked questions over there is from people wondering if the city as a whole, or a specific neighbourhood, is “safe.” I tend to leave these questions up but I kind of hate them because despite everyone’s best efforts (or sometimes, terrible efforts), the answers are rarely satisfactory because the question is such a vague one.
Take this, for example, in which a user writes “Is it really dangerous to walk alone at night?”
Spruceland Mall area. I had multiple people tell me not to walk alone at night. (And some in the day??) Am I really at risk of violent crime? Will I be robbed or raped or stabbed? I honestly haven’t even seen any sketchy people in this area yet, I don’t know what I’m missing.
So this is someone who is actually already taking part in the activity they are asking about. They have been in the area and say “I don’t know what I’m missing” because they don’t see signs of danger and yet other people are telling them they exist.
And the answers are… wildly all over the place. One person says they lived here in the 90s and were beaten up twelve times over the course of five years. Another says they have never had a problem. And the top-voted comment gets to the heart of the issue, and my frustration with this question generally:
I do not agree with anyone who comments that it isn't something to be worried about when the rcmp (following a mugging in the area) earlier today stated:
"We urge the public to be aware of their surroundings if they are walking during the darker hours and to report anything suspicious to police," Cooper added.
Be aware of your surroundings no matter where you are. There was a stabbing in College Heights about a week ago. A so called "safe neighborhood".
Fair enough! But that raises another question:
Is anywhere safe?
I live on a block that had two drive-by shootings in a matter of weeks. If someone asked me “is your neighbourhood safe?” I could accurately tell them about these drive-bys. But the answer I would be more likely to give is that it’s right by a school, kids play on the street all the time and lots of people leave their doors unlocked. The drive-by happened, one could happen again, but it is not the defining characteristic of the neighbourhood.
In another Reddit thread, this one about the area around Connaught Hill, someone pointed out that a person had been found shot in the area and police announced they’d found the remains of a murder victim killed in 1990, all in a single week. I am not sure you should use a 32-year-old murder as a metric by which to judge the safety of a community. Likewise, I’m not sure simply pointing out that you can be the victim of a crime anywhere is that helpful, either.
Because - you can do that all day.
Is Vancouver Island safe? There was a bank shooting there this summer. Is Kerrisdale, one of B.C.’s richest neighbourhoods, safe? Police issued a warning about people having guns pulled on them while selling things on Facebook Marketplace there. I’m in a lot of community subreddits and I’m not sure you could find a single semi-major city in North America that doesn’t have people there willing to warn strangers about the dangers of their particular community.
None of this is to diminish the feelings of personal safety individuals may have, nor to deny that crime exists, nor to suggest that there aren’t problems to be addressed or neighbourhoods that are harder hit by these issues than others. It’s just to point out that crime can and does happen all over the map and that’s not unique to Prince George and the answer of “is Prince George safe?” is no more easily answered than it is for anywhere else.
If your question is “am I guaranteed to not be a victim of crime in this particular geographic location” the answer is pretty much always no, and there’s a very strong chance someone can point to a historic event or police warning in the area to prove it. Likewise, if your question is “am I likely to be a victim of crime in this particular geographic location” the answer is also pretty much always no, and that includes everywhere in Prince George where the majority of the time the majority of people on the majority of days are not being robbed or attacked or intimidated.
So where does that leave us? I’m not so sure. I think maybe I just wanted to write out an answer to copy and paste the next time the question gets posted.