People who live or work in Seattle can help shape police response by sharing their perceptions of safety in their neighborhoods in an anonymous online survey.
Broad participation this year is especially important as civility and safety were issues in the recent City Council races. Results will help develop a more complete and representative picture of the city’s public safety challenges than crime statistics, alone.
This is the fifth year the Seattle Police Department and Seattle University have conducted the Seattle Public Safety Survey, which measures perceptions of crime and safety in Seattle’s 58 micro-communities. The purpose is to learn residents’ and workers’ top concerns about public safety, views of police and neighborhood relationships. Police use the feedback, combined with police data to allocate resources and inform its micro-community policing plans — in order to directly address different neighborhoods’ unique challenges and needs.
The survey is available in 11 languages and can be accessed online at: publicsafetysurvey.org. Responses will be accepted through Nov. 30. Last year, 6,544 people responded to the survey. Top safety concerns included car prowlers, to few officers, homelessness, residential burglaries and property crimes.
Seattle is full of anecdotal stories of property crimes and safety and civility issues, not all of which rise to the level of a police report. In fact, some residents say they have despaired of phoning in complaints for “nuisance” crimes that often go unpunished. Several survey respondents last year said they felt police were being prevented from doing their jobs.
City leaders should pay attention. Regardless of its accuracy, there is latent danger in allowing residents to believe that lawbreakers will go unpunished. And although there can be differences between perceptions and actual threats to public safety, it matters whether or not Seattle’s neighborhoods feel safe to those who know them best.