Philadelphia residents want better streets, policing, and public safety services.
And two-thirds of residents believe the quality of the city’s services is fair or poor, according to a detailed survey conducted by Mayor Jim Kenney’s administration.
The city launched the survey in August, asking almost 20,000 residents about city services, the work of various departments, and quality of life issues.
Top concerns expressed in the survey align with Kenney’s second-term priorities. The mayor pledged last week in his inaugural address to confront gun violence and reduce crime, and he cited the survey in promising to improve streets.
“Overwhelmingly, people were most concerned with the condition of our streets,” Kenney said. “So, let me say that we’ve heard you loud and clear, and making our streets safer and cleaner will be another major priority.”
Invitations to participate in the survey, completed in partnership with Temple University’s Institute for Survey Research, were mailed to some residents’ homes in an address-based sample and also made publicly available online. Results were weighted to reflect the city’s population by gender, age, ethnicity, race, education, and income level.
Overall city services
When rating overall city services, 31.3% of residents said services are good or excellent, while 67.5% said they are fair or poor. The most popular answer was fair; 45% of residents gave that response.
Those responses show a slightly lower level of satisfaction than a similar 2016-17 survey. In that survey, 64% of residents said city services were fair or poor and 35% said they were good or excellent.
When asked for the top issue that the city should focus on improving, 15.6% of residents said streets, sanitation, and water, 9.1% said street repair and condition, and 8.6% said street cleaning.
The Kenney administration added a second street paving crew to the city in his first term and vowed to add a third crew so the city will be repaving 131 miles per year by the end of his second term.
Residents reported that they would like more information about street projects; 70% named it as an area in which they would like the city to improve communication.
The survey also found that residents are not satisfied with street cleaning in the city, with 78% saying that it is poor or fair.
Kenney has vowed to implement citywide street sweeping by 2023. Neighborhood street sweeping has not occurred regularly in Philadelphia for years, and Kenney began a pilot program in six neighborhoods last year that he now says will be expanded.
Residents also identified police and public safety as top issues, with 24% of residents selecting one of those two categories as the most important area for improvement.
Ratings were mixed on police services. Almost 48% of residents said they would rank police services as good or excellent, and about 48% said they were fair or poor.
Here are some other survey responses related to police and public safety:
48% of residents said they feel safe in their neighborhood. About 24% said they do not feel safe, and 28% said they felt neutral about the question.
59.4% of residents said police ability to prevent crime in their neighborhood is fair or poor. 25.7% said it is excellent or good.
39% of residents said police presence in their neighborhood is excellent or good, while 58.1% said it is fair or poor.
Kenney has said reducing gun violence and making the city safer and more just are his top priorities for the next four years. He appointed Portland, Ore., police chief Danielle Outlaw as the city’s new police commissioner and vowed to transform community relations and reform the police department.
Schools, jobs, and more
Here are some other notable survey results:
40% of residents said they are not satisfied with the quality of schools in their neighborhood, while 23% of residents said they are satisfied, and about 37% were neutral.
Asked whether they agree with the statement, “I have access to a job that pays a living wage,” 49.7% said they agree or strongly agree, 27.4% of residents were neutral, and 22.9% of residents said they disagree or strongly disagree. The city noted that white residents and people with bachelor’s or graduate degrees were more likely to agree or strongly agree with that statement than black or Hispanic residents or residents without a college education.
Residents expressed satisfaction with emergency medical services; 63.9% rated them as excellent or good, while 21.5% said they are is fair or poor.
39.2% of residents rated the city’s work cleaning up vacant lots as poor. Only 11.2% said it was excellent or good.
The mayor vowed to continue using survey results to prioritize the city’s focus areas and funding.
“The findings will help us further identify opportunities for improvement, including how we allocate limited taxpayer dollars over these next several years,” Kenney said in a statement. “Your voices are being heard.”