I wanted to make sure you saw my opinion piece in the Pioneer Press this past weekend. Your Chamber conducts an annual survey of both employers and residents to track trends around perceptions of public safety. My hope is to convey this idea that we have an opportunity. We have the power to improve our experience of and confidence in the safety of St. Paul. We start by paying attention to this data about the impact our surroundings have on perception. We can’t accept circumstances or an environment that drive people away from using the skyways, frequenting St. Paul restaurants and shops, or working for St. Paul businesses.
As a reminder, the good news: we have seen a 35-percentage-point drop — from 65% in 2022 to 30% in 2023 — in the number of St. Paul residents who reported that they feel crime in St. Paul is an increasing problem. While only 7% said they felt crime was decreasing, most residents responding said they felt that crime has “stayed the same” in the city. Also, while crime was chosen as the “most important issue facing St. Paul” in 2022, in 2023 “maintenance of public infrastructure” rose to the top, with “protecting residents and visitors from crime” ranking third behind “managing the needs of the homeless.”
The challenge ahead for us to address together relates to the data that suggests many people have changed their behavior in response to their belief that elevated risk of crime is becoming normalized.
In my experience, St. Paul’s residents, employers and employees are caring and attentive. I also know that City leadership puts public safety as a top priority. We need our city’s environment to reflect that. We want the skyways, streetscapes, and neighborhoods to be clean, safe, and welcoming for everyone because they are an expression of the pride and love we feel for our city. We want to know that our unsheltered are being cared for. We want residents and visitors alike to feel confident that a vibrant future lies ahead for St. Paul.
Our survey results amplify the sense of urgency, particularly around three impactful key items (and the need for an even greater sense of urgency):
1. Safe, Clean Skyways
2. Assisting People in Crisis
3. Recruitment, Retention of Police Officers
We CAN organize around the good things we all want – to live and work in a beautiful capital city that also is the best place for opportunity. And that starts with a foundation of public safety.
Read more and dive into the survey methodology, data, and results HERE.
I initially commented on our public safety survey I my Nov 13 “It’s Our Business” blog.