Despite serious criticism of law enforcement following last year’s murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the popularity of police here dipped only slightly from prior years in Seattle’s annual public safety survey.
In a tumultuous year that included City Council votes to decrease funding and the sudden retirement of Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best, the police legitimacy score of 59.3 in 2019 slipped slightly to 58.4 in 2020.
“It did surprise me that it didn’t go down more, given all the media attention to police violence and defunding the police,” Jackie Helfgott, the director of Seattle University’s Crime & Justice Research Center and survey leader, told The Seattle Times. “We did expect it to go down more than it did.”
The survey of more than 11,000 people also measured their fear of crime. It compared fear levels in five police precincts within the city. Fear of crime was highest in the West precinct while it was lowest in the East precinct.