New Pew poll shows 30% increase in Philadelphia residents concerned about crime
A sobering new poll from The Pew Charitable Trusts shows that ongoing issues around COVID-19 and gun violence are among Philadelphians’ top concerns.
Most notably, the poll found that 70% of city residents think crime, drugs and public safety are the biggest problems in Philadelphia – an increase of nearly 30% from August 2020 and the percentage the most. higher since Pew began such a poll in 2009.
The survey, which aims to gauge residents’ views of the city, specifically asked about the police, the impact of the pandemic and the city’s future.
“Overall, we found that the pandemic has really continued to have a major impact on residents, including their physical health, finances and employment,” Katie Martin, senior director of the research initiative and of Philadelphia Policy from The Pew Charitable Trusts. & State. “Sixty-three percent of Philadelphians know someone who has been hospitalized with COVID-19 and 47 percent, or nearly half, know someone who has died from the virus. And when we asked that question in 2020, it was 24%.”
The impacts of the pandemic also go beyond physical health. About a third of residents said their financial situation was worse than in March 2020, with 61% of people with children saying they had trouble paying their mortgage.
Along with COVID-related concerns, the poll highlighted residents’ issues with public safety. With many residents in increasingly difficult circumstances, the city has seen record numbers of gun violence and homicides throughout the pandemic.
The poll found that only 44% of Philadelphians feel safe in their neighborhood at night – the lowest percentage since Pew polls began in 2009. On top of that, 85% of residents believe gun violence is has worsened over the past three years.
“Philadelphians are rightly concerned about the gun violence crisis plaguing our city and our communities across the country. We need immediate and aggressive federal regulation of the gun industry so guns stop flowing like water and law enforcement has the tools they need to solve more shootings and homicides,” Jane Roh, spokeswoman for District Attorney Larry Krasner, said in a statement. “District Attorney Krasner has always called for a modern and effective approach to policing that uses more targeted law enforcement resources, such as expanded and modernized forensic capabilities, and investigative and legal training. improved for officers and detectives to solve the most serious crimes. But with funding for law enforcement comes accountability, and thanks to the FOP, our residents don’t have the accountability or the effective public safety infrastructure they deserve.
The police were also a hot topic in the poll. Sixty-one percent of residents say the city needs more police, up from 45% in August 2020. And 53% say the city is a “great” place to live, up from 66% in 2020.
Martin said residents responded to an open-ended question about their main concerns and that crime, drugs and safety issues “crowded out” other topics in the responses. The nearly 30% increase in the number of residents citing crime, drugs and safety as their top issues, coupled with 14% of residents citing poverty and homelessness, far outpaced all other issues, which were only registered to one digit.
“There were a few different disparities both by neighborhood and by race and ethnicity. Seventy-eight percent of black residents and 76% of Hispanic residents said they heard gunshots, compared to 46% of white residents. But 86% of North Philadelphia residents and 76% of West Philadelphia residents reported hearing gunshots, which was much higher than in other areas of the city,” Martin said. “The overwhelming majority of Philadelphians — across demographic groups, across subgroups, across neighborhoods — have indicated that public safety is a top issue in the city right now,”
Racial disparities regarding those affected by COVID-19 and gun violence have emerged throughout the pandemic. The poll results come as no surprise to Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration.
“Many of the challenges facing Philadelphia — including rising shootings and homicides, and the continuing effects of the drug and opioid crisis — are disturbing trends affecting municipalities nationwide” , Kenney spokesman Kevin Lessard said in a statement. “The poll results also underscore why the Kenney administration’s continued focus on racial equity is critical — we know Philadelphia residents of color continue to feel the effects of violence and economic downturns more intensely and we are actively working to reverse these disparities.”
The Pew Charitable Trusts poll was conducted using address-based sampling, with 1,541 Philadelphia adults completing online and mail-in questionnaires.