SAFE Surveys and charlotte residents thoughts on safety

Activist/ artist Bree Newsome, who is a West Charlotte resident who works in coalition with SAFE around issues of police accountability and advocating for victims of police brutality. Regarding the progress of the Harm Free Zone over the past few months she said “Police have become the catch-all for a host of issues that emerge when cities divest from historically segregated, predominantly Black and Latino/a neighborhoods. Using police and the penal system as a solution for everything only creates more problems. That’s why we are committed to developing new solutions at a grassroots level, led by the community members themselves.”

Some Interesting SAFE Survey data
{Photo: Bree Newsome} Like most cities, in Charlotte we struggle for transparency and accountability when it comes to the police department. We’ve made some progress in gaining more oversight powers for the local citizens’ review board, but …the responsibility ultimately lies with the city, county and state to address larger systemic issues like the lack of affordable housing, living wages, funding for public education and access to proper mental healthcare.

We are currently conducting a citywide survey to assess what issues residents feel most concerned about. Before identifying a particular neighborhood to focus on — and that decision will be made at a later time in consensus agreement with community members– we’re first looking to see what issues residents identify as top priorities where they live. We then want to analyze the data according to location to see what patterns, if any, emerge.

We’re also collecting some basic demographic data to analyze results by age, gender identity, etc. We’ve already done some data sampling that shows significant differences in responses among age groups. It is interesting that when asked among several options, whether people had:
1) Been the victim of a violent crime they reported to the police
2) Been the victim of a violent crime they had not reported to the police.
Respondents were allowed to choose as many options as applied to them. An equal number of people responded “yes” to both 1 & 2.

This seems to reflect a general distrust of police, that people are as likely to not call the police as they are to call them. However, it could also reflect crimes occurring in the home that family members don’t report, such as domestic violence. We want to collect more data and also hold larger community conversations to get the best sense possible of what community members feel are the most urgent concerns around issues of safety.

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