(The Center Square) – The latest quality of life survey by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce reveals Seattle residents are growing more concerned about public safety within the city.
A combined category of crime, drugs and public safety was listed as the second-most concerning issue at 48%, behind homelessness at 51%.
The Seattle Metro Chamber noted that public safety as a concern is 20 points higher than when it first started the quality of life survey in August 2021.
The Chamber’s Index survey also found 60% of respondents continue to say they feel less safe in their neighborhoods than they did two years ago.
One in three say they don’t feel safe visiting downtown during the day and two-thirds said they would not feel safe visiting downtown at night.
Through August 2023, there have been nearly 3,500 reported violent crimes, including 42 homicides. The downtown area had 274 total reports of violent crimes, the most out of all Seattle districts, according to data from the Seattle Police Department’s crime dashboard.
A majority of those surveyed indicated the need for a greater police presence throughout the city in order to increase safety and reduce crime. According to the survey, 74% of voters agree with the opinion that Seattle needs to make hiring more police officers an immediate priority.
Notably, three out of four respondents do not trust the Seattle City Council to reform policing without compromising public safety.
“We’ve known for some time that voters are concerned about public safety and public drug use – especially meth and fentanyl – and those concerns have become a sticking point to voters continuing to feel optimistic,” Seattle Metro Chamber President Rachel Smith said in a statement. “While we saw quality of life numbers increasing as recently as March, these results show that positive progress is fragile, a point candidates for Seattle City Council should note.”
Despite the increasing concern over public safety, the percentage of respondents who said they were actively considering moving has decreased from a high of 67% in March 2022 to 53% in September 2023.
The survey was conducted by EMC Research, with 700 Seattle voters interviewed across each council district from Sept. 14-24.