Durham News

Poll shows Durham residents feeling safer now

The Bull City’s residents feel a good bit safer than they did a few years ago, but less than half believe the police force is doing a good job, according to a “State of Durham’s Image” report from the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The report is based on a telephone poll of 462 residents selected to mirror the city’s demographics, DCVB CEO Shelly Green said in presenting it to the City Council Thursday. It was conducted by NanoPhrades, a research firm headquartered in Wake County

Of all those polled, 62.4 percent said they feel safe, up from 30 percent who were asked the same question in 2005. That number, though, was down from the 79.4 percent who agreed in the 2007 poll.

Asked whether they agreed that the police are doing a good job “protecting and serving Durham residents,” 43.5 percent overall agreed, 46.1 percent disagreed and 10.4 percent were uncertain.

African Americans gave police the highest rating, with 56.9 percent saying they are doing a good job, and Hispanics the lowest, with 85.3 percent disagreeing. Among Caucasians, 45.2 percent agreed.

Green said Hispanics’ perceptions may have been affected by the fact that polling was done in January, when Durham police were under heavy criticism following the shooting death of teenager Jesus Huerta while he was handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser.