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Property crime, ‘police capacity,’ and traffic safety are top concerns in the East Precinct where police legitimacy ratings crashed years ago and never recovered

The researcher behind the annual survey the Seattle Police Department says it uses to create specific public safety plans for every neighborhood in the city says the yearly process is the best way for ordinary citizens to “help convey a better understanding of public safety in Seattle.”

“The findings tell the story of how people in different neighborhoods view public safety and police, Jackie Helfgott, director of the Crime and Justice Research Center at Seattle University says about the research. “In an ideal world, a ‘healthy’ neighborhood, public safety-wise, would yield high ratings around police legitimacy, social cohesion and informal social control, and low ratings around fear of crime and social disorganization.”

So, speak up Capitol Hill, the Central District, and the surrounding neighborhoods of the East Precinct. This is your chance.

The Seattle Public Safety Survey is an opportunity for all who live and/or work in Seattle to voice your concerns about public safety and security in your micro-community (neighborhood). The survey is open and accessible at publicsafetysurvey.org through November 30th and available in Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, English, Korean, Oromo, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tigrinya and Vietnamese.

Started in 2015, the SPD and Seattle U research typically only reached 300 to 500 respondents in even the city’s largest neighborhoods with the survey pushed through outlets like the Nextdoor social media system and its information sharing agreement with the department. Some years, only around 100 people responded from the city’s Central Area, and 300 on Capitol Hill.

In last year’s survey, nearly 2,000 people responded across the East Precinct. That’s a big jump but still leaves thousands of people’s thoughts out of the responses. The largest group of respondents was between the ages of 30 and 49 though the research process weights the results according to the demographic makeup of the precinct’s neighborhoods. Meanwhile, shout out to the three 2022 East Precinct respondents who reported being older than 90.

In the East Precinct, survey ratings on police legitimacy started crashing about four years ago — and haven’t recovered

“As far as the survey is concerned, ratings for police legitimacy have been lower in the East Precinct than the others,” Helfgott told CHS about the results earlier this year. “The social control rating was low, too, which means there’s reduced willingness for people to get involved in public safety.”

The 2022 results (PDF) continue a trend for East Precinct respondents handing out poor marks to SPD’s legitimacy and the area’s social cohesion.

“Police legitimacy is an important concept relevant to public safety as it has been consistently found that law enforcement relies on police legitimacy for individuals to cooperate/comply with and support their departments,” the 2022 survey report notes.

In recent years, new concerns have risen to the top — and stayed — in the East Precinct. The top issue here is now property crime followed by “police capacity.” Respondents here also are likely to cite “traffic safety” as a concern though SPD makes much fewer traffic stops than it used to.

The fifth most cited public safety concern? “Homelessness.”

Helfgott said that the top safety concerns identified in the East Precinct were similar to those identified citywide — though respondents from the neighborhoods around Capitol Hill and the Central District tend to be much less concerned about crime than most other parts of the city.

“There is a need to conduct these surveys because community perception of crime matters,” Helfgott said. “The survey measures people’s trust in police and their fear of crime, which relates to their quality of life.”

“My hope is that we always get more people to participate in these surveys,” Helfgott said. “It’s the data that helps us understand how the community feels.”

Respondents can take the survey at publicsafetysurvey.org through November 30th.

With reporting by Soumya Gupta

 

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Hillery
Hillery
4 months ago

: Cracks knuckles and opens survey :

Nick
Nick
4 months ago

This survey really calls out for a more critical reading. It’s a push poll rooted in the discredited “broken windows” theory; one of the questions is even literally about broken windows. The concerns reported as “police capacity” don’t distinguish between issues that could be fixed with more funding and issues rooted in SPD’s toxic culture.

zach
zach
4 months ago
Reply to  Nick

Please provide documentation that the “Broken windows theory” has been discredited. I think a more accurate statement is that it is controversial, but may have some validity.

CD proud for 27 years
CD proud for 27 years
4 months ago
Reply to  Nick

I fully subscribe to the broken windows theory, why do you call it discredited?
Dilapidation and apathy leads to petty crime, petty crime leads to more serious crime.
I see it happening right before my eyes right outside my windows. The SPD have been very responsive for me but they are limited in what they can act on.
Maintaining a reasonable standard of living is not only up to the SPD, the citizens, elected officials and landlords are also responsible for their surroundings.
Seattle has a case of the “why bothers” and it is degrading the way we live, for everyone, including the homeless.
It is as easy as starting to pick up garbage in the street, calling the police on the people frequenting the known dope houses, reporting abandoned cars, asking a neighbor if they need help, weeding a parking strip…
Broken windows is about not letting small things turn into big things, its not complicated but it takes concern.
There is nothing wrong with having a sense of pride and ownership for your own neighborhood.
We should all try to do and be better, it is frustrating to walk by these million dollar town homes with the fronts covered in garbage and weeds.
We have all become so insular, it is discouraging but I personally will not let it win on my block.

Let's talk
Let's talk
4 months ago

Thank you for spelling it out like this. We have the same issue in our neighborhood. Come out, join the community and show concern for your neighbors and surroundings. It takes just a little time and effort to make a big impact.

zach
zach
4 months ago

Thank you! I would add a few things to the list of things ordinary citizens can do on a regular basis:

Pick up litter.
Report illegal dumping to the online app or Find it, fix it.
Report graffiti.

Nation of Inflation Gyration
Nation of Inflation Gyration
4 months ago

The causality is backwards though – graffiti at scale is a symptom of disuse and neglect, not the cause. If you’ve ever done anything more than a quick sharpie tag or stickering and want to keep doing it, you post up where there is space and lack of sight on it. Some do the broad daylight wall (There was a cat getting the whole wall next to City Market at like 6 PM on a Tuesday which was pretty bold, but notice that it was the wall and not City Market itself), but work it out – why are popular businesses generally unscathed while closed storefronts get a ton of it.

Regardless, general community care is good and right, but CRE landlords are not really part of a or the community in any sense and they like it that way.

Nation of Inflation Gyration
Nation of Inflation Gyration
4 months ago

You might also want to check out how those that hit up rail cars generally avoid going over the IDs and info for the cars. And there’s an uneasy peace about it where its absolutely more expensive to try and prevent it at all with security or to repaint if the numbers aren’t obscured – it’s a survival mechanism for the artist/piece and economic incentives by the rail companies.

Nihonjin
Nihonjin
4 months ago
Reply to  Nick

“Please provide documentation that the “Broken windows theory” has been discredited. I think a more accurate statement is that it is controversial, but may have some validity.”

Living in Japan is proof enough.

Decline Of Western Civilization
Decline Of Western Civilization
4 months ago

Junk science.

hill possum
hill possum
4 months ago

The interface of the last part has a slight problem. Unselected bars, which are not counted, should either have an invisible slider, or a dim slider in the middle (50%). Instead, they have a dim slider at 0%, which might cause some people to not click the bar if they were going to choose 0%. The instructions say not to do this, but it would be better to remove the possibility.