ODU survey: Overall satisfaction with police is high among Hampton Roads residents

NORFOLK, Va. – A report from the 2017 Life in Hampton Roads survey conducted by Old Dominion University sheds light on how some Hampton Roads residents feel about police, crime, race relations and attitudes regarding the homeless and mentally ill in the area.

The report surveyed 908 residents about local police and crime.

The majority of respondents, 52.5 percent, said they were somewhat satisfied with local police. About 32 percent said they were very satisfied, 10.6 said they were dissatisfied and 4.1 percent reported being very dissatisfied. One point three percent declined to answer or didn’t know.

Those surveyed were also asked how satisfied they are with how local police treat citizens. Nearly half said they were somewhat satisfied and 27.7 said they were very satisfied. Thirteen percent reported being somewhat dissatisfied and almost six percent were very dissatisfied.

The survey says white respondents were more likely to give a positive rating for how local police treat citizens than other races. Nearly 93 percent of white respondents said they trust local police somewhat or a great deal, with only 68.1 percent of African American respondents answered the same.

Virginia Beach and Suffolk respondents gave the highest ratings for police satisfaction. The lowest ratings came from people living in Norfolk and Portsmouth.

According to the survey, more respondents are afraid of their home being broken into while they’re away than when they’re at home.

About two-thirds of respondents said they’re not afraid or not much afraid of being mugged on the street and 68.3 said they’re not afraid or not much afraid of being physically assaulted.

More than three-quarters of respondents said they thought homelessness in Hampton Roads was a moderate or serious problem. Nearly 74 percent thought mental illness in Hampton Roads was a serious or moderate problem.

Respondents were split on race relations in Hampton Roads. Forty-nine percent said race relations were excellent or good and 49.8 percent rated race relations as fair or poor. White respondents rated race relations in Hampton Roads higher than African-American respondents.

White respondents said people who “look like them” are treated more fairly than African-American respondents when applying for a loan or mortgage, renting a house or apartment and when seeking job opportunities.

When asked if people of all ethnic origins are welcome in Hampton Roads, the majority agreed.