Your thoughts about crime, policing, more sought in 8th annual Seattle Public Safety Survey

If you haven’t responded to this year’s Seattle Public Safety Survey – academically administered, with results summarized for SPD – we’re reminding you that it’s open now. This is the 8th annual survey; it’s not a quick survey, but rather a thorough questionnaire asking you about everything from your opinion of Seattle Police to what kinds of crime, disorder, and even traffic issues are problematic and/or feared in your neighborhood. It’s available in 11 languages. Seattle University, which is administering the survey again this year, adds, “A report on the survey results will be provided to the Seattle Police Department to help them better understand your neighborhood’s safety and security concerns and community-police dialogues will be held in May-August 2023 to provide opportunity for police-community engagement about the results.” This is linked to the SPD Microcommunity Policing Plans, which you can see here. To respond to the survey, start here. The survey’s open until the end of this month.

25 Replies to "Your thoughts about crime, policing, more sought in 8th annual Seattle Public Safety Survey"

  • Gay November 2, 2022 (6:35 pm)

    What is there to think about at this point?

  • Question Authority November 2, 2022 (7:07 pm)

    They need to know of the public support that exists because the “other’s” opinions will autopopulate being negative.  When others accept drive-by shootings as the new normal because of held beliefs, that will only change if it ever comes home and effects them or family which happens daily it seems now.

    • AMD November 2, 2022 (7:34 pm)

      Nobody “accepts” drive-by shootings.  Well, ok, I guess you could argue that focusing on consequences for crime while ignoring proven prevention strategies is a form of “accepting” it.  What most people accept is the body of work studying the root causes of crime.  They believe in following the science that has time and again proven that social services aimed at reducing poverty do FAR more to prevent crime than police.  But unfortunately there will always be those for whom beliefs cloud willingness to support any solution that ISN’T police.

      • Question Authority November 2, 2022 (8:08 pm)

        There may be numerous studies of causes and the benefits of prevention, but that’s not helping those affected by crime because at that moment opinions don’t matter, whether you live or die does. 

      • Frustrated November 2, 2022 (8:30 pm)

        The problem is people were/are pushing to get rid of police before other alternatives are set up. The result is we have lost many police officers and they have been replaced with… nothing. Feel safer?

        • WestSeattleBadTakes November 3, 2022 (8:46 am)

          Sounds like we should force these officers back into work? We were willing to do it for the bridge, so why not public safety as well?

        • Question Mark November 4, 2022 (10:52 am)

          Re: “The result is we have lost many police officers and they have been replaced with… nothing.”And clearly the loss of some of those officers has made a positive difference to the department. The problem has been that an officer has to literally kill someone unjustly before they can be fired under decades of negotiated contracts with Seattle’s police union. And the bar for what is “justified” when an officer kills another person in Seattle is still set far too low.

          Will the Harrell administration’s recently negotiated contract be any different with regard to officer accountability? I’m not holding my breath.

  • Old man shaking fist November 2, 2022 (7:25 pm)

    Thanks for sharing this. I just completed it. I admit it gave me a better perspective on the relative lawfulness of my neighborhood, as I skipped over many issues I don’t see on a regular basis (not seeing a lot of sex work in High Point these days ). One glaring omission was traffic safety – barely mentioned. Seems like reckless speeding on neighborhood streets is increasing with no apparent enforcement. I understand that’s a lower priority than violent crime, but it’s only a matter of time before an unchecked car of kids blasts into a pedestrian – then it IS a violent crime. 

  • Lifelong WS November 2, 2022 (10:01 pm)

    I know this is a scary issue for everyone given the recent shooting on Alki. My question is, what do y’all think police can do to help in situations like that? Academic data shows that “crime prevention” from the police really doesn’t exist, they can only respond AFTER violent crimes. To take Alki as an example, there is no way SPD could have gotten to the crime scene before the perps had fled, even if they had, the shooting would have still occurred. The solution is high level policy & funding changes. We need gun regulation,  it is proven to actually prevent these crimes & the severity of them.  We need widespread, easy to access mental health resources. We need a well funded education system. We need social safety nets. There is nothing SPD can do to help us with these issues, the solution exists outside of them if we want actual prevention of violence. Grateful to live in such a generally safe and incredibly kind community. West Seattle is a great place to be, and I am so glad to have such an engaged central news source like the Blog. Thank y’all for posting the survey!

    • Mel November 3, 2022 (5:45 am)

      Sometimes police are able to get these people off the street before additional crimes are committed. And that is a big deal to future victims. Pro active policing is non existent post 2020. They used to be encouraged to do traffic stops for things like expired tabs, tail lights out, and that would often lead to finding people with felony warrants or with weapons on them. So yeah, policing does make a difference when they’re supported to actually do their job. I agree we need additional mental health services etc. But not at the expense of a police force. Not sure how I feel about education as SPS is already receiving a large sum per student in comparison with other districts and they can’t seem to educate kids well with that they have today.

      • AMD November 3, 2022 (7:02 am)

        SPD gets a large sum per citizen in comparison to other jurisdictions and they can’t seem to protect people well with what they have today.  Isn’t that the argument for MORE police funding that everyone uses?  Proactive policing has been non-existent in this city for decades.  There has been a backlog of rape investigations with no movement on them for forever.  Police in general aren’t set up to prevent crime, but to document and punish after the fact.  If they do prevent crime, it’s a side-effect (as you stated yourself above), not by design.  That’s not an SPD thing, that’s how the whole system of policing is set up, in every city in the country and other countries as well.  That’s why people are asking for changes.  We just want to see crime PREVENTED, and it’s crazy that that’s such a hard sell with some people.

      • Canton November 3, 2022 (8:11 am)

        Spot on Mel.

    • Jethro Marx November 3, 2022 (9:09 am)

      There is a real problem with using regulation to reduce gun violence: people who drive around shooting others wantonly are just not getting their guns from the same place as law-abiding citizens. Your average gun owner will be very cautious to follow the laws of the land; they are not going to buy stolen guns from some sketchy dude’s trunk. Said sketchy dude does not care at all that, say, magazines with a capacity greater than ten rounds are now illegal to sell- that just means he can charge more for them. This means that gun “control” regulations negatively impact the law-abiding while having little effect on law-breakers. By treating lawful purchase, ownership, and use of firearms the same as criminal we have made ineffective gun laws and embittered a generation of lawful gun owners. I have seen some of the data that claims these laws are effective but the cause and effect relationships are almost always anecdotal and specious. Please elaborate on your claim that gun laws work to prevent gun violence, as it does not appear to be going great in Seattle.

  • anonyme November 3, 2022 (6:06 am)

    I think the comment by Frustrated comes closest to the truth.  The police are not the answer to every crime issue, but they are a necessary part of the equation.  There is a lot of polarization and either/or thinking that just isn’t helpful.  What I would say is that the widespread awareness that police are not only lacking in numbers but lacking in the will to enforce the law has helped create an environment of lawlessness across the board. 

    • WestSeattleBadTakes November 3, 2022 (8:59 am)

      By this logic, there should be some point where you are personally willing to commit crimes, no? In other words, police levels get so low that a switch just flips and you become lawless. It is inevitable, right?

      If you reject that, then you’ve hit the first milestone toward realizing this is a complicated sociologic and economic problem. 

      Will more police be needed in the near to medium term because of how bad we’ve let it get? Most definitely. But police are not the solution.

      If you feel the urge to reply about criminals being held accountable, wait, we agree. But we, society, are also accountable. If we are unable to come to terms with that and work toward real solutions (economic, health care, humane rehabilitation, etc) then these problems will only get worse.

      • anonyme November 3, 2022 (9:34 am)

        Who is “you”?  By your logic, or lack of it, everyone wants to be a criminal and is just waiting for permission – or lack of enforcement.  I suggested no such thing, nor does any comment I made lead to that bizarre conclusion.  I pretty much agree with everything else you say, so not sure why you singled out my comment as being in need of correction or confrontation.  Of course, that’s also a thing these days – the neverending search for an offense where there is none.  I suspect that we’d all get along a lot better if every little thing weren’t viewed as adversarial.

        • WestSeattleBadTakes November 3, 2022 (9:53 am)

          By your logic, or lack of it, everyone wants to be a criminal and is just waiting for permission – or lack of enforcement. 

          Great, so you didn’t understand anything I said. In your desire to be offended and define me as adversarial, you completely missed the point. You have to admit that is pretty funny.

          To spell it out. The lack of police presence did not ” help create an environment of lawlessness across the board.” It is a contributing factor in the current situation, but it did not “create” this environment as you suggested. If you have evidence to suggest otherwise, you are welcome to provide it. But this is poor sociologic analysis.

  • Lifelong WS November 3, 2022 (10:12 am)

    Mel, I appreciate that the idea of “getting people off the streets” is very popular, but it has virtually no evidence to support it. If getting the ‘bad people’ locked up worked, we would already be the safest country in the world given how many people we incarcerate. All evidence indicates that gun regulation and social safety nets are the only things that actually prevent crime, especially violent crime. If someone is so poor they can’t reliably get food, do you think a member of SPD pulling them over at a traffic stop, or access to government funded resources and safety nets would be more effective at stopping that person from committing a crime to get resources? Similarly Jethro Max, I recommend you look at the research again, your points have been pretty universally disproven. Nor is there research to support your points that I am aware of. Gun regulation works in virtually the rest of the western world, why wouldn’t it in the US? Seattle gun regulations are not in a vacuum, this requires federal action and regulation. Of course city level gun regulations are not very effective when you simply have to drive 30 minutes east to escape them, not to mention they don’t do anything to address the insane amount of guns already on the streets. But they are better than nothing. What would you suggest we do instead of gun regulation? These are VERY complicated issues, as WestSeattleBadTakes said, that require complex solutions. The evidence is overwhelming, both from other nations policies and outcomes, and sociological research in the US, that gun regulation & social safety nets work, increasing policing and incarceration does not. Also, lets also show our fellow humans some compassion! These have been a brutal few years, people are really suffering. People need help. Is it okay to be violent? No. Of course it never is, and accountability is needed. AND we know that violence (and crime more broadly) are complex human behaviors, created by complex intersecting factors and often situations of ongoing desperation and trauma. Punishing people as much as possible has quite literally never worked to prevent violence, and makes the US a much scarier and sadder place to live. Lets be giving and kind, and try to support our communities however we can, because that is a key part of the solutions & violence prevention!

    • WestSeattleBadTakes November 3, 2022 (10:59 am)

      Gun regulation cannot work as it does in European countries because we already have 120.5 firearms for every 100 people in this country. Taking all the guns isn’t going to happen.

      Our best course of action is still to close loopholes in our current gun regulations (universal background checks, etc) while simultaneously working to change the culture; our relationship with guns. As you said, that includes ensuring people aren’t driven to crime and violence with social safety nets, healthcare, education, rehabilitation, etc.

      Australia is used an example but the mandatory buyback of banned weapons was only 650,000 guns. There are roughly 20,000,000 AR15s in America alone and nearly 400 million guns in total. Combined with the toxicity of our gun culture, it just isn’t practical. The alternative is likely a civil war.

      This is an emotional topic and it would be easy to read my statements as an acceptance of gun violence. In some ways, it is. We’ve let this go on for far too long to expect an easy out or a quick jump to no guns.

      In reality, as long as we have bad faith politicians and citizens who are more than happy to stoke our toxic gun culture, lie, and continue to worsen these conditions; I don’t have much hope.

      • Lifelong WS November 3, 2022 (12:41 pm)

        I am sorry to hear you don’t have hope WestSeattleBadTakes, I must have misunderstood your point. I agree this is an emotional issue and addressing gun violence will be a different beast in the US than in Europe or Australia, but that does not mean regulation wouldn’t help and there is no hope. Once again, the evidence suggest the exact opposite. I wonder, who benefits from your hopelessness? I would argue the exact bad faith politicians you seem opposed to. I have a lot of hope, and have see the action from that hope improve the lives of others and myself. These are big issues, but America is not destined for this level of corruption and violence forever. It will only last longer if folks stay hopeless. Just because we can’t fix it all ourselves, doesn’t mean we can’t make a difference. Times are changing, and we owe the next generations every bit of effort we can muster to make this world safer and kinder for them. I hope you are able to find some joy and hope, or at least are enjoying the nice fall weather :)

    • Jethro Marx November 3, 2022 (11:19 am)

      My contention is, the kind of laws we’re passing/people are rooting for are literally worse than nothing. I don’t have magic answers to complex questions but I can tell you that it will be easy to build a base of support that includes gun owners for laws that at least aim to reduce the supply of guns to people who shouldn’t have them. For me, the easy ones are: subsidize gun safes and a standing buyback program. It will be tricky to structure such laws to prevent people from gaming the system but it’s doable. The guns in the back of grandma and grandpa’s closet or other not-so-secret and not-at-all secure guns are easy pickings. You cannot compare the rest of the world’s gun situation because our country is very different, and we could talk all day about why, but the sheer number of guns, long-standing rights enshrined in the formative documents, and a general attitude that we will not put up with the level of government scrutiny of our private lives present in much of the rest of the world are probably the top three American complications. Please don’t imagine I hold the constitution as some holy thing, but you start to fiddle with it and even Pandora will cringe.

      • Question Mark November 4, 2022 (10:59 am)

        Our country is apparently minting new “people who should not have guns” out of “people who are OK to have guns” apace.

        And those who invented the argument that we just need to restrict guns from those that shouldn’t have them knew they were talking through their hat when they made it up.

  • miws November 3, 2022 (10:57 am)

    Very big thank you to  AMD,  Lifelong WS, and Westseattlebadtakes, for expressing my thoughts pretty much exactly, as I no longer have the cognitive wherewithal to do so, nor to discuss/debate them. —Mike

    • Lifelong WS November 3, 2022 (12:43 pm)

      Thank you Mike! I’ve appreciated your comments on the blog over the years – I’m a long time reader, first time commenter as they say. Hope your autumn is going well :)

      • miws November 4, 2022 (11:39 am)

        Thank you, Lifelong! I hope yours is going well also. Maybe we’ll have to wait several days to come to a conclusion on that. 😉 —Mike

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