Both our perception and experience of safety strongly influence wellbeing. People who hold fears for their personal safety are likely to have a lower quality of life and a decreased sense of wellbeing, and may find it difficult to participate fully in their community [1, 2]. Where offending in a community is perceived to increase, or actually does increase, the community may become less appealing for new residents and for people who go there for recreation or other activities [3-5]. Communities with low levels of offending attract greater investment from the private sector, which in turn creates more employment opportunities and contributes to a higher quality of life, as the community is more stable and healthier [6-8].
Key trends within safety
In the Canterbury Wellbeing Survey, respondents from greater Christchurch indicated favourable levels of perceived safety across different locations and times of day (with the exception of Christchurch City centre after dark). The indicators also suggest that there is a downward trend in the number of family violence victimisations for greater Christchurch. However, the number of property-related offences has shown an upward trend, excluding decreases in the number of offences during COVID-19 lockdown periods.
Key equity issues within safety
The perceptions of safety indicator suggests that having a low income or long-term health condition or disability, or being female, older, or non-European are all associated with lower perceived safety. No breakdown data are available for the remainder of the indicators (property-related offences and family violence victimisations).
What this means for wellbeing
The relationship between safety indicators and wellbeing is complex. However, lower levels of personal exposure to harm or loss are generally relatable to improved levels of wellbeing. The data show differences in perceptions of safety for some groups (such as for females after dark in their neighbourhood and/or town/city centre, and for people with a long-term health condition or disability). Property-related victimisations data suggest some recent increase in reported harm.
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