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Courts and Police

Sheriff's Resident Opinion Survey

At the request of the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, SANDAG conducted a public opinion survey of residents within the service areas of the Sheriff's Department.  The survey results provided information about perceptions of safety, crime, and neighborhood issues, as well as citizens' perceptions of the Sheriff's Department and the services it offers to the public.

A survey of the public can be important to law enforcement for several reasons.  Surveys can be a means to educate and inform the public about law enforcement services.  Also, although a relatively small number of citizens have contact with law enforcement agencies, public safety is a concern of citizens and represents a significant government expenditure.  Often, the public perception of crime is guided by media reports that emphasize crime stories, which can cause a perceptual distortion of the actual level of crime.  For example, during times when national crime statistics had been steadily declining, survey results suggested that some population subgroups believed that crime had increased.

Law enforcement agencies strive to improve and enhance their services to the public through higher standards and new technology.  Periodically, it is important to assess what issues are most important to the public, the extent to which law enforcement responds to those issues, and how law enforcement can improve services. 'Results of the survey can be used to set priorities and ultimately improve the quality of life throughout the region,' stated Sheriff Kolender in a press release prior to the survey mail-out in 1998.

Project Manager

Dr. Cynthia Burke, Director, Criminal Justice Research Division
Phone: (619) 699-1910, Email: cindy.burke@sandag.org

For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or pio@sandag.org.