Seattle U Criminal Justice Department Launches City-Wide Public Safety Survey

Written by Bruce Decker
October 21, 2015

Under contract from the Seattle Police Department, Seattle University faculty and students in the criminal justice program have launched a citywide Seattle Public Safety Survey. The purpose of the survey is to solicit feedback on public safety and security concerns from people who live or work in Seattle. A report on the survey results will be provided to the Seattle Police Department to assist it with making neighborhoods safer and more secure.

The online survey is accessible at? now through Nov. 30. It is available in multiple languages including Amharic, Chinese, English, Korean, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese.
The Seattle Public Safety Survey is an independent survey that follows and continues a partnership between the Seattle U Department of Criminal Justice and the Seattle Police Department to evaluate neighborhood-based concerns about public safety. The project is supported by funds from the?Community Oriented Policing Services Office, the Seattle Police Foundation and the Seattle Police Department.

That evaluation and the implementation of the survey is being conducted by a research team that includes Criminal Justice Professor and Chair Jacqueline Helfgott, PhD, and Assistant Professor Will Parkin, PhD, five graduate students who are research assistants/analysts housed in each of the five SPD precincts and an undergraduate research assistant.

The graduate students work in the precincts as paid civilian research analysts who assist with the collection of information from the community through focus groups and attendance at community meetings. Additionally, they assist SPD personnel in identifying how to best meet the needs of the community and serve as participant observers studying the implementation of the initiative within the police department and the city of Seattle.

The survey opens with voluntary questions to collect demographic information such as age, race, sex and income and poses about three-dozen questions about crime and the SPD?s response to it. The only required question is identifying the neighborhood you live in from a drop-down list. Survey respondents remain anonymous and no identifiable information is asked.

As a way to help spread the word about the online survey and to encourage participation across the city, SU students will work with community groups and other Seattle agencies, as well as conduct direct outreach to underrepresented citizens who may not have access to traditional social media outlets.

Parkin and Helfgott