With theft on the uptick in some local communities, concerns about crime have convinced some of us to change our ways.
Nearly half of the 200 respondents to a survey of residents of Reporter Newspapers communities reported they were doing something different in their daily lives because of their concerns about crime. About an equal number said they haven’t changed their behavior because of fear of crime.
Those who said they had made modifications to avoid becoming crime victims listed changes ranging from adding or expanding home security systems to being more careful about locking their cars, to just staying home at night.
“We don’t walk our dog when it’s dark anymore,” a 32-year-old Atlanta man reported.
“I always park under street lights now and refuse to look at my phone as I walk to my car a night,” a 24-year-old Atlanta man noted.
“Atlanta is a dangerous place,” a 70-year-old Atlanta woman commented. “I only go out during daylight hours.”
But not everyone is changing because of fears of crime. “We live in a densely populated urban neighborhood,” a 37-year-old Atlanta man wrote.
“Making intelligent decisions solves most problems before they happen.”
“My behaviors have not changed,” a 28-year-old Dunwoody man said. “I take basic precautions (e.g., lock doors and windows).”
The survey was conducted by 1Q.com via cellphones to residents in Reporter Newspapers communities. The results are not scientific.
Although local police agencies say overall crime rates continue to decline, police in Buckhead and Dunwoody have reported seeing an uptick in property crime. Slightly more than half of the crime in the city of Atlanta revolved around cars, Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields said in June.
Residents have noticed. “We have seen an increase in car break-ins/theft at night,” a 36-year-old Brookhaven woman noted. “We are now extra careful to not leave the car in the driveway and if we do, to ensure there are absolutely no items worth stealing!”
When asked their opinion on the best way to reduce crime in neighborhoods, respondents to the survey generally looked to more policing. Asked to choose among a half-dozen possible ways to address crime, more than a quarter (28 percent) of the respondents called for more police on neighborhood streets and nearly as many (23 percent) supported adding to the police department’s network of surveillance cameras.
But about as many (24 percent) backed the idea of improving diversion programs to steer young adults from gangs. Smaller groups backed better teaching of social responsibility in the schools (11 percent) and ending probation for repeat offenders (10 percent).
Some survey respondents said they were becoming more engaged in crime prevention. “I keep a more active eye on odd activity in the neighborhood and drivers around me when returning home,” a 50-year-old Atlanta man reported.
Others indicated they were taking matters into their own hands. Quite literally.
“I walk with my keys in my hands gripped hard,” a 30-year-old Sandy Springs woman noted.
“I bought a baseball bat,” a 25-year-old Buckhead man said.
Here’s what some other respondents had to say
“I reinforced my front door after having it kicked in twice during the day. I also installed blinds. Sad, but true.”
— a 36-year-old Atlanta woman
“I take pictures with my phone of suspicious cars and their license plates.”
— a 52-year-old Buckhead woman
“I always lock my doors and am considering adding a security camera.”
— a 29-year-old Atlanta man
“I have always been fairly diligent, but am even more so now. I recently had my car broken into and am very leery of parking garages.”
— a 43-year-old Brookhaven woman
“The crime rate is generally low. However, there are a lot of cat-callers, which makes me feel unsafe sometimes. Especially when they follow you. I have started wearing headphones when walking around so I can be left alone.”
— a 24-year-old Buckhead woman
“I live in the city and don’t experience much crime. Although some basic precautions are necessary, like not keeping items visible in your car when parked on the street.”
— a 40-year-old Atlanta man
“I stay aware of my surroundings (but always have). I also think social media makes the fear worse than it should be.”
— a 38-year-old Buckhead woman
“We make sure to park in well-lit spots, walk in pairs at night, leave the back deck light on all night/motion sensor lights, etc.”
— a 29-year-old Atlanta woman
“I am more cautious when walking by myself or driving. I usually am not outside at night alone by myself.”
— a 33-year-old Buckhead woman
“Walking my dog or parking my car in a public area, I realize it is important to remain vigilant.”
— a 54-year-old Sandy Springs man
1Q is an Atlanta-based start-up that sends questions and surveys to a cellphone via app or text messages. Respondents are paid 50 cents per answer, through PayPal, for sharing their opinions. Payments may also be donated directly to charity. Sign up to be included in our local community polls at 1Q.com/reporter or by texting “REPORTER” to 86312.