FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA - Community organizations from across the city are questioning the legitimacy of a recently released report regarding an Ottawa Police-led survey. The Ottawa Black Diaspora Coalition, Coalition Against More Surveillance (CAMS), Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women (OCTEVAW) and Horizon Ottawa are skeptical of the legitimacy of results of the survey. The Police’s own report on the survey states, it was only posted on police websites and respondents were able to fill out the survey multiple times. The survey was not monitored in this regard, nor were there any guarantees that respondents resided in Ottawa.
“Media have been uncritically sharing this survey as fact but when one looks closer at the methodology - it could not be further from the truth.” said Sam Hersh, a board member of Horizon Ottawa. “This survey was posted in select places for select audiences and it shows.”
Racialized people as well as low-income people, who most often are forced to interact with the Police, were heavily underrepresented in the survey. Out of the 3200 respondents who filled out the survey, 2400 of them identified as white and only 328 of them identified as being a member of Black, Indigenous or People of Colour (BIPOC) communities, 77 of those identifying as Black and 62 as Indigenous. When it came to income, almost half of all survey respondents had a household income of over $100,000 while only 14% made less than $60,000. According to the survey, 33% of Ottawa residents make less than $60,000.
“Police don’t invade the homes of white residents with over $100,000 incomes, they politely knock. Police don’t terrorize, criminalize and murder white civilians at the same rate as Black and Indigenous civilians.” said Vanessa Dorimain, Co-Chair of the Ottawa Black Diaspora Coalition. “The results of this survey are catered to reflect a privileged few; and these few are the most removed from the harm the Ottawa Police inflict on a day to day basis.”
However, even despite the questionable methods of the survey, the vast majority of respondents still agreed that alternative methods were necessary to deal with mental health and other situations that could be otherwise done by different sectors in the community. 73% of survey respondents were in favour of the OPS shifting some responsibility from police to community services. A further 70% wanted to see more investments in social services and a large number of respondents had negative opinions on the Ottawa Police Service.
“When acknowledging the calls for change, it is important that the OPSB doesn’t use erroneous consultations and surveys to frame residents and communities as monoliths. Rather, they should be intentional about centering the people who are often overlooked and dismissed in conversations pertaining to community safety & well-being, not those whose perceptions uphold a status quo that is riddled with inequity and injustice.” said Farnaz Farhang, member of the Coalition Against More Surveillance. “These results should not be used to override the lived experiences of harms and injustice created by the system.”
For Media Inquiries:
Ottawa Black Diaspora Coalition
Coalition Against More Surveillance (CAMS)