The annual Seattle Public Safety Survey is open until Nov. 30. The survey includes questions about fear of crime and confidence in Seattle police officers.
Seattle University is once again surveying city residents about their fear of crime and other policing issues.
The annual Seattle Public Safety Survey is available in 11 languages at publicsafetysurvey.org. Seattleites have until Nov. 30 to take the survey.
The survey began in 2015 as part of an evaluation of the Seattle Police Department’s neighborhood-specific policing plans.
Last year, about 6,500 people responded to questions about their fear of crime, confidence in Seattle police, whether officers treated people fairly, whether there are enough police in their neighborhood and other public-safety issues.
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“It taps into the health of the neighborhood around issues of public safety, so we’re able to see how community members feel,” said Jacqueline Helfgott, professor and director of the Crime and Justice Research Center at Seattle University’s Department of Criminal Justice.
Over the years, property crime and homelessness have dominated Seattleites’ concerns, though specific worries vary by neighborhood, Helfgott said.
Last year, the city’s top five public-safety concerns were lack of police officers or resources, car prowls, residential burglary, property crime and littering/dumping. Along with answering questions, many respondents left written comments. In those comments, researchers identified 43 themes ranging from underpolicing and “police are being prevented from doing their job,” to overpolicing, concerns about use of force and a lack of police accountability.
To measure fear of crime, the survey asks people to say how often they have worried about various types of crime in their neighborhood during the day and night.
“How afraid a person is of crime can be just as important as the actual crime if it stops a person from enjoying the quality of life someone in another neighborhood can enjoy,” Helfgott said.
Compared with SPD crime-rate data, the 2017 survey showed that some neighborhoods have a high fear of crime despite low crime rates.
In a new addition this year, a question about residents’ top concerns will include hypodermic needles as an option, Helfgott said.
Researchers encourage people to take the survey online. They also distribute it at in-person events and some service agencies like the Downtown Emergency Service Center. People unable to access the survey online can call 206-296-5477.