Poll: Northeast residents love the police, their neighborhoods

A recent wide-ranging poll of 1,600 city residents has brought to light a number of unsurprising cultural trends, many divided between neighborhoods.

The survey, commissioned by The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Philadelphia Research Initiative and conducted by Abt SRBI Public Affairs, working with Rutgers Professor Cliff Zukin, found crime was the most-cited problem in Philadelphia, despite the city’s growing budget woes, but also showed some positive interest in Philadelphia by Philadelphians.

Still, the headlines were made by residents’ concerns on crime, which was shown in a number of ways:

  • When asked in an open-ended question what factors they like least about living in Philadelphia, 45 percent of participants say crime or violence. Next comes dirty streets and trash — named by 8 percent.
  • Of those who say they would move out of the city if they had the chance, 36 percent list crime as the number-one reason, followed by a preference for a suburban lifestyle (10 percent) and concern about their children’s schools (8 percent).
  • Asked whether they feel safe outside in their neighborhoods at night, 37 percent say they do not — with 24 percent saying they feel “a little unsafe” and 13 percent “not safe at all.” [Source]

The findings [PDF] also shared a number of perspectives specific to the Northeast, particularly tying the NEast most closely to South Philadelphia, of the city’s other regions, according to a press release on the poll. In the poll, 55 percent of respondents say they are satisfied with the level of police protection in the city. Compared to the satisfaction level they express about other city services, this is about average, higher than for parks and recreation (48 percent) or street repair (33 percent). It is lower than for trash collection (67 percent) or public transportation (71 percent).

Satisfaction with the police is highest among whites, the elderly, members of households with income of $100,000 or more, and residents of Northeast and South Philadelphia. It is lowest among Hispanics, younger people, members of households making less than $30,000, and residents of North and West Philadelphia. [Source] The poll was conducted before the killing of Officer John Pawlowski.

Other Northeast-specific focuses included our attitudes toward our neighborhoods and ethnic diversity, according to the release: Despite their worries about crime and the schools, residents generally give positive ratings to their neighborhoods — the notable exception is North Philadelphia — with residents of Northeast Philadelphia by far the most positive at 79 percent. At the same time, however, the Northeast is the only section of the city where residents say, by a margin of 37 percent to 12 percent, that their neighborhood has gotten worse over the last five years.

In every neighborhood, Philadelphians are worried about the economy. Nearly half (46 percent) cite “lack of jobs” as the most serious problem facing the city, followed by drugs and crime.

Residents of Northeast Philadelphia and South Philadelphia have the greatest awareness of an increase in the number of immigrants in their neighborhoods. City residents who notice such a change were pretty evenly split over whether it is a good or bad thing. [Source]

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