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Seattle survey asks about crime in your neighborhood

(AP, Ted S. Warren)

If you live in Seattle, you have a chance to speak up about actual crime and the perception of crime in your neighborhood. The sixth annual citywide Seattle Public Safety survey is now open.

“That was implemented by former SPD Chief Kathleen O’Toole and her goal was to implement this micro community policing initiative that allows us to collect data in all 58 Seattle neighborhoods based on the idea that Seattle is a city of neighborhoods and no one neighborhood is alike in terms of concerns about crime and public safety,” said Dr. Jacqueline Helfgott, Director of the Crime and Research Center at Seattle University, which puts out the survey.

“It’s based on the idea that police need to respond not just to incidents of crime but also perceptions of crime,” Helfgott explained. “For example, if people are fearful of crime, even if that fear is not directly related to the actual crime, that’s still a concern in terms of people’s quality of life.”

The survey covers a variety of issues, going beyond actual crimes happening in particular neighborhoods.

“We also have sets of questions that measure quality of life dimensions related to public safety,” Helfgott said. “So we have questions that measure police legitimacy and trust in police, fear of crime, people’s perceptions about social disorganization, informal social control, and social cohesion. We also asked questions about how people view Seattle police as compared to police in the United States.”

Helfgott explained that the results are used to direct police resources, from the chief to the captain, so that that they have information about the perception of crime in each neighborhood.

“They can look at community perceptions of crime, in conjunction with actual crime to be able to, in a more nuanced way, disperse police resources, but also to better understand the communities,” Helfgott said.

That’s why she says it’s more important than ever, given the current conversation around policing and public safety in Seattle, that every person participates in the survey. The survey will be open through November 30.

“We do outreach across the city at the precinct and micro community level to different community groups. The survey is in 11 languages” Helfgott said.

You can take the English version of the survey here. You can find other languages the survey is available in here. You can find out more about the survey here and here.

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