Survey: 58 percent happy with department
Satisfaction with the New Orleans Police Department remained largely flat in the past year, according to a recent survey by the New Orleans Crime Coalition.
Fifty-eight percent of those questioned in August said they are satisfied with the NOPD’s performance, a figure that did not change from a survey conducted in March.
Overall satisfaction in the twice-yearly surveys peaked at 61 percent in February 2012 and dipped to 56 percent in August 2012 before rising slightly to its current level.
High-performing police departments in other cities typically score no lower than 70 percent on ratings of resident satisfaction, the coalition said.
The latest survey of 600 people — 75 from each of the city’s eight police districts — was conducted by telephone Aug. 26-28. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
This was the eighth survey the nonprofit coalition has conducted since it began them in 2009. An outside firm conducts the polling.
Broken down by police district, the 4th District, which encompasses Algiers, had the lowest approval rating at 49 percent.
The 1st District, which includes Treme and parts of Mid-City and the 7th Ward, had the highest rating at 69 percent.
Sixty percent of the respondents said they are satisfied with efforts to address violent crime, a figure that was trending upward until August 2012, when it plunged to 46 percent before rebounding to its current level.
The city’s murder rate, historically the nation’s highest, has fallen this year.
Satisfaction with efforts to address property crimes remained stagnant at 59 percent from August to August, while satisfaction with efforts to get drugs off the streets also remained flat at 42 percent.
Perceptions about the way officers interact with residents are a bit more varied.
The levels of satisfaction for honesty and integrity of officers, professionalism and general attitude and behavior of officers toward residents all were at all-time highs of 66 percent, 61 percent and 60 percent respectively.
However, officers’ cooperation with the public was at 61 percent after being at 62 percent in August 2012.
That category was at its highest level in February 2011 when 65 percent of respondents said they were pleased with officers’ cooperation, assessment of overall competence remained at 60 percent, its highest level since the survey began.
Between the March and August surveys, satisfaction with the way an officer handled an interaction dropped from 72 percent to 63 percent. Dissatisfaction increased from 21 percent to 31 percent.
The level of satisfaction with the courteousness of NOPD employees on the streets was down from a high of 80 percent in August 2012 to 72 percent in August.
After holding steady at 8 percent in August 2012 and in March, the number of those who had “total unpleasant” experiences increased to 18 percent in August.
Employees at police stations seemed to fare better, with 80 percent of those experiences being assessed as positive, while just 4 percent were negative, the best results since the survey began.
Also setting new records were the number of people who feel safe in their neighborhoods.
Eighty-five percent of those surveyed said they feel safe in their neighborhoods, compared with 14 percent who do not feel safe.
The first survey found that just 69 percent of people felt safe, while 29 percent of people felt unsafe.
Eighty-seven percent of those who said they were victims of crime reported it to police.
The coalition notes that the “random survey ... is privately funded and citizen-driven, (and) independent of the administration and the police department.”