NYPD uses tech to gauge citizens’ sense of safety: It’s a ‘shared responsibility’

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New York’s Finest aren’t just out patrolling the streets. The NYPD is getting online and asking citizens about two key feelings: trust and safety.

The police department is using targeted ads to gauge not just how safe a New Yorker feels in their own neighborhood, but also how much they trust the police there.

Devora Kaye, acting deputy commissioner of public information for the NYPD, told Fox News, “Advertisements are sent via social media and search engines to get New Yorkers to take a survey about trust and safety.”

Every month, about 7,500 people take the survey. “Enough people are reached to get a snapshot of trust/safety data down to precinct and sector level,” Kaye added.

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This innovative tool, often called the “sentiment meter,” gives the NYPD information about how the community feels, which is valuable information, according to Kaye.

NYPD uses tech to gauge citizens' sense of safety: It's a 'shared responsibility'

NYPD’s “sentiment meter” survey
(New York City Police Department)

Sentiment-meter participants are asked to answer three questions with a ranking of one to 10:

“When it comes to the threat of crime, how safe do you feel in your neighborhood?”

“The police in my neighborhood treat local residents with respect.”

“The police in my neighborhood listen to and take into account the concerns of local residents,”

A fourth question is fill in the blank:“What is the number one issue or problem on you block or in your neighborhood that you would like the police to deal with?”

“Safety is a shared responsibility – the NYPD continues to deepen its Neighborhood Policing philosophy and understanding how safe people feel is central to that work,” Kaye explained.

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Fox News was able to view the citywide data for trust and safety, going back to September 2016. This summer, for example, New Yorkers’ feeling of safety has gone down from 67 percent in June, to 63 percent in August. Conversely, the level of trust in police has increased over the same period from 63 percent in June, up to 66 percent in August.

“It’s important that we understand how we are doing with overall trust with the NYPD and that people feel safe,” Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill wrote in a statement to Fox News.

“There is a difference between being safe and feeling safe, and many times how people feel about the police is not just based on what is happening in their neighborhood – it might be something that’s happening borough-wide, citywide or something that’s happening nationally,” wrote the commissioner.

This data doesn’t simply help police headquarters, but also individual precincts at the hyper-local level.

“But if it something that’s happening locally, there are things that we can do to increase trust and make people feel safer,” O’Neill continued. “I think this is an important tool for precinct commanders, borough commanders, and for us at police headquarters.”

Underlining the crucial role police play in the lives of citizens, O’Neill added, “It’s critical that we have a police department that can work in partnership with all 8.6 million New Yorkers to keep them safe.”

The software company tasked with gathering the data, Elucd, is local, too.

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The Elucd website touts the software company’s ability to help “leaders improve trust and safety through data.”

“For the first time, city leaders can track the real-time pulse of how every neighborhood feels about trust and safety, and develop strategies for their improvement,” continues the statement on Elucd’s site.

Michael Simon, the co-founder and CEO of the Brooklyn-based startup, was unavailable for comment.