A survey by the Louisville Metro Police Department and the University of Louisville finds few residents think crime decreased in their neighborhoods through 2017, especially in Louisville’s downtown, west, and south neighborhoods.
The survey, released last week, is administered yearly by U of L Criminal Justice Professor Deborah Keeling. Keeling said answers were collected from 2,402 phone surveys. She said LMPD and the mayor use the survey to help evaluate policing in the city and to gather citizens’ perspectives.
“If you’re providing a service and you don’t take the time to ask your consumers what they like, what they dislike, about your services, then you really can’t improve,” Keeling said. “The fact that the Louisville police department has done this so consistently every year for the last five or six years, I think, reflects their desire to provide really high-quality services.”
The report said no more than 13 percent of the respondents think the amount of crime had decreased in their neighborhoods through 2017. Most said crime stayed the same, except for survey respondents from LMPD’s 3rd division, which includes Pleasure Ridge Park and most of South Louisville. Respondents there were more likely to report crime increased.
LMPD Major Andy McClinton said people’s concerns are legitimate, but added that perceptions might have been influenced by media coverage.
“If there’s a shooting or a homicide or anything, it’s always in the news. So I can see where that perception could come to people in neighborhoods,” McClinton said. “If you’re just looking at the numbers, I would tell people in the community that our officers are doing a fine job.”
As of this May, all crimes except rape are down compared to last year, according to LMPD data.
Most people surveyed said they were satisfied with police and their services. But when asked about police services to help crime victims, 21 percent rated the service as poor or very poor.
But Keeling said the survey has limitations. For example, not many youth were interviewed and the median income of respondents was between $50,000 and $60,000. Still, she said it’s reliable enough for police leaders to gauge their communities.
“As a researcher, you put it out there and say, ‘Look, we know this isn’t perfect. And here are some of the reasons why it’s not perfect.’ So you take those into account,” Keeling said.
The full report is here.
McClinton said LMPD command staff are still reviewing the report and no immediate changes are planned.