Scared to walk at night?
What about the daytime?
A new survey reports that fewer than 50 percent of folks in the Pikes Peak Region feel “very safe” walking their neighborhoods at night!
The 2011 survey of the Quality of Life Indicators in the Pikes Peak Region released Friday reports the number of people who feel “very safe” walking in their neighborhoods at night has dropped below 50 percent.
According to the report, 82 percent of people surveyed feel “very safe” or “somewhat safe” strolling their neighborhoods in the day.
But when night falls, the number drops to just 71 percent. And fewer than half feel “very safe.”
I was shocked.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m no macho man. Over the years, I’ve been scared, day and night, visiting certain neighborhoods . . . the housing projects in Chicago, the Tenderloin in San Francisco, or any neighborhood in Oakland, East St. Louis and Kansas City, Kan.
But never have I felt fear in Colorado Springs.
I know there are neighborhoods here where you can get robbed or shot . . . Briargate, Peregrine, Flying Horse, Broadmoor.
Let’s face it, any neighborhoods where there are nice cars, fancy homes and money are targets of crime.
The only fear I’ve felt walking at night in the Springs is from the rare mountain lion or frequent black bear who roam our region. I’ve seen mother bears get pretty aggressive around humans at dusk. I even faced one in my own garage.
But the survey is talking about fear from humans and that is much different. And it doesn’t seem to matter that the crime rate in the region is 10 points below the national average.
So I asked neighborhood guru Dave Munger, president of the Council of Neighbors and Organizations, about the findings.
“I’m a little concerned,” Munger said, noting that some of the fear may be related to another finding of the survey that showed the city’s police are solving fewer crimes than ever.
The so-called “crime clearance rate” dropped to 22 percent in 2010 in Colorado Springs and it was 27 percent in El Paso County. In Fountain, the rate was just 23 percent.
“Unfortunately, I don’t have a great solution for this,” Munger said. “The question is: How do we make sure we are providing a safe environment for all our citizens and good a quality of life for all citizens regardless of their ability to pay for it?”
On the positive side, he said, the survey showed a growth in the number of neighborhood organizations. There are about 200.
“That’s a terrific thing,” he said. “Neighborhood and community organizations are where we learn to work together and understand what it means to live and work together. They are basic units of democracy.
“When a neighborhood is organized and makes decisions to improve the quality of life, it will impact the people in the immediate vicinity in a positive manner.”
Wonder if those neighborhood groups are good at solving crimes?