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12.1 Citizen Perception - Feelings of Safety

This indicator uses a citizen survey that asked residents their feelings of neighborhood safety during the day and at night.

This indicator is part of Residents feel safe.

Indicator description:

The City of Albuquerque commissions a survey of Citizen's Perceptions of Community Conditions every other year in order to determine citizen views of the current conditions in the Albuquerque community. Each of the last four surveys, conducted by a contract research firm, has posed the same question about citizen's feelings of safety outside in their neighborhood at night, and outside in their neighborhood during the day. The national average represents cities with populations greater than 100,000 included in the national survey conducted by ICMA (see data source).

Rollover and click the interactive graphs to make comparisons


Why is this indicator relevant?

Citizen feelings of safety are affected by not just the rate of actual crime in their community, or their likelihood of being victimized by crime, but also by number of unrelated factors, some of which do not mirror the individual's actual safety. Perceptions of safety are affected by messages portrayed in the media, changes in neighborhood demographics, changes in neighborhood cohesion, the socioeconomic status of the citizen, and many other factors, including time of day. Citizens in a precarious social or economic position may feel less safe than those who are better situated. Elderly citizens may feel less safe than others, even though their actual rate of victimization is extremely low. Feelings of safety, therefore, may have less to do with the actual likelihood of victimization, and are more reliant on the overall sense of community and familiarity. Additional analysis of the Citizen Perception Survey revealed that whether or not a citizen had personally been the victim of a crime in the past year did not have a statistically significant effect on their perceptions of safety in their neighborhood.

Data Source:
City of Albuquerque, Citizen Perceptions of Community Conditions survey, Research and Polling, Inc., 2001-2011; International City/County Management Association.

What can we tell from the data?

  • The rate of citizens who feel safe in their neighborhood at night has decreased slightly over the past four years.
  • Over the same time period, the percent of citizens who feel safe during the day has remained constant.
  • Comparable survey data for peer cities indicate that Albuquerque is trending better than all but one peer city and better than the national average in both categories.


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