A survey of Kettering residents conducted by the police department shows that those living in the city identified drug problems, theft and burglary as their two biggest crime concerns. Police Chief Chip Protsman said citizen input is taken seriously.
Photo: STAFF/PHOTO
Photo: STAFF/PHOTO

Drugs, thefts, school safety top Kettering residents’ safety concerns

“We take citizen input very seriously, so each year we conduct a Citizen Satisfaction Survey,” Police Chief Chip Protsman said. “The issues of greatest concern to our residents are areas where we dedicate resources.”

Residents were asked to choose three issues of greatest concern to them within the community, and drug crimes ranked No. 1 by 83 percent of those responding. That’s an increase of 3 percentage points from the year before.

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Results showed thefts and burglaries second with 73 percent, virtually unchanged from the previous survey. School safety rated third at 46 percent, up from 44 percent a year earlier.

Other issues in order of importance to citizens were: traffic safety, violence and drunk driving.

The desire to see and meet patrol officers in the city’s neighborhoods was something survey participants want to see.

“Our goal is to target specific areas requesting assistance or more police presence,” Protsman said. “Citizens want increased patrol in their neighborhoods, to be kept safe from drug activity, and speeders.”

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The survey found that 62 percent of the participants have not been victims of crime in the city. That was a decrease from 71 percent of crime-free respondents polled in 2016 and decreased from 69 percent in 2015.

Of the actual victims of crime, theft (items stolen from cars) followed by other thefts were the most commonly identified incidents followed by fraud related problems.

One thousand paper surveys with return envelopes were sent to random Kettering residents who requested participation in the Kettering Police and Communication (Dispatch) Center’s Community Satisfaction Survey, which focused on 2017. It was also online at the department’s website during February and March.

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The random sampling of residents revealed that they felt Kettering police officers are friendly (92 percent), earn confidence of the public (94 percent), attend to problems in a timely manner (91 percent), and treat all people with equal respect (92 percent).

While 91 percent in the survey agreed that a citizen who has a complaint against a Kettering officer will have authorities look into the matter, 9 percent responded they disagreed.

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On a scale ranging from 1 to 5 (5 being the highest), respondents rated the Kettering Police Department overall performance as 4.5, slightly down from a 4.6 response in 2016.

“We are proud to have received so many favorable comments for the people we serve,” Protsman said. “We are equally grateful for the constructive criticism as it helps us focus our efforts on areas in need of greater attention.”

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The Kettering Communication (Dispatch) Center was also rated by citizens who had contacted or knew someone who had contacted the Center (46 percent).

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Lt. Michael Gabrielson said it helps improve police services when residents provide feedback regarding the department’s performance.

“We thank everyone for taking time to participate and we will review them for ways to improve service to our community,” he said.

According to the US Census Bureau, Kettering had 55,175 residents as of July 1, 2017, and the crime rate for the city, ranging from thefts to arson, is considerably lower that the national average.

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