3/03/05 Contact: David Granger, 334/844-9999 (dgrangdm@auburn.edu)
Jim Seroka, 334/844-4781 (jseroka@auburn.edu)


AUBURN – Almost nine out of 10 Alabamians feel safe or very safe from violent crime or serious property crimes. However, less than half of minorities share that confidence in their safety from crime.

This is among the findings of a recent Ask Alabama public opinion survey conducted by the Center for Governmental Services at Auburn University. Ask Alabama releases monthly results of polls on topics of interest to Alabamians.

According to Ask Alabama’s January telephone survey of 629 Alabama residents, 75 percent of Alabamians also agree that their local law enforcement officials are doing what they can to find and arrest lawbreakers.

Yet, with this high expression of confidence in their safety and in law enforcement, some 80 percent of Alabamians believe that their community has the same or more serious crime than a year or two ago.

“National statistics show crime has actually declined in Alabama,” says Poll director Jim Seroka. “The fact that so many Alabamians think that crime has become worse in their community is an issue to which local law enforcement officers and elected officials must respond.”

Alabama’s minorities do not share the confidence of their fellow citizens regarding safety from crime. Among minorities, the percentage of those who are recent crime victims or closely connected to a crime victim is 21 percent, six percent higher than for non-minorities. Less than half of minorities said they feel safe or very safe from violent and property crimes.

“As indicated by the much higher rate of victimization, Alabama’s minorities justifiably feel more threatened by serious crime in their communities,” notes Seroka.

Other findings of the Ask Alabama poll on Alabamians and their local communities include:

* 56% of Alabamians strongly agree that additional tax revenues should be used to recruit and retain law enforcement officers in their community.

* 63% feel that local officials give enough attention to reducing crime.

* 59% feel that local officials give enough attention to training and education of police officers and sheriff’s deputies.

Complete results of the Ask Alabama poll on “Alabamians’ Perspectives on Crime and Law Enforcement” can be found at www.askalabama.org. The poll had a sample size of 629 resident Alabamians 19 or older, and an estimated margin of error of plus or minus four percent. Ask Alabama conducts quarterly telephone surveys on issues of interest to Alabamians.

(Contributed by Jim Seroka)