Annual Seattle University survey shows public's safety concerns

SEATTLE – Seattle University released its annual Public Safety Survey on Tuesday.

The University received 6,544 responses from community members who live or work in Seattle. The responses are weighted to reflect the city’s demographics.

The 2018 top public safety concerns were car prowls, lack of police capacity, homelessness, property crime and residential burglary.

“I’ve had my car prowled twice in a secure parking garage, not here but in Belltown” said Joe Rouse, who lives in Green Lake. “I do think that Seattle is much safer than many other cities in the country.”

“I usually feel pretty safe but have seen some cars that have been like broken into or damage is done to other people’s homes,” said Daisy Diaz, who lives in the University District.

The survey was done by the Seattle University Department of Criminal Justice faculty and student research analysts. The data was collected back in Fall 2018 and available in 11 different languages.

The principal investigator Jacqueline Helfgott of Seattle University said the information directly supports Seattle Police and the department’s Micro-Community Policing Plans (MCPP).

“If someone’s afraid to walk to the grocery store because they perceive a violent crime in their neighborhood or other types of crime in their neighborhood, whether there is or there’s not an actual incident of violent crime, it still affects their quality of life,” said Helfgott.

“The MCPP play a critical role in the department’s community engagement strategy, and in directing resources and services at the micro-community level,” said Seattle Police in a release.

Seattle Police keep track of 58 MCPP neighborhoods. Helfgott believes this is the only survey of its kind in the country that focuses on the micro-community level.

This is the first time in the survey’s history that homelessness is a top citywide public safety concern, according to Helfgott. Homelessness was also the number one theme when reading in-depth narrative comments from half of the surveyors who provided more detail.

Richard Wilie frequents Ballard Commons Park, where he says some of the problems that can come with homelessness are on full display.

“It’s lawless around here,” said Wilie. “Luckily there’s not a lot of violence, but there is a lot of theft, vandalism and a lot of garbage every day.”

Seattle University is already gearing up for the 2019 Public Safety Survey. Survey responses will be collected from October 15-November 30, 2019. Click here to go directly to the University’s page.