Baltimore Police Survey Crime Victims On Response Issues


Baltimore police are calling crime victims “to get a measure and get a feel for the quality of police service,” said police Col. John Skinner, the Baltimore Sun reports. “We tend to hear mostly about really negative police interactions. But there are a lot of people who are really satisfied.” Volunteers last week called people with a list of questions developed with a university researcher’s help. “I think it is going to help us with our evaluation needs,” said Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld. “We have to give our community a voice. The community needs to tell us what we need.”

The 20-question survey asks about response time and whether the victim received a complaint number and other contact information. It asks whether there has been any follow-up from detectives, whether the victim has been kept informed and whether the detectives appeared to be listening and showed concern. Callers focused on victims of robberies and burglaries because such crimes can frustrate and frighten homeowners, and can be used to gauge the degree of fear in a community. Christine Eith, a Towson University researcher who designed the survey, said, “When their fear goes up, you can see patterns of migration based on the crime.” Police promised to make the survey results public and to use the information to better train officers. One victim was unimpressed. Eric Bruce, whose house was ransacked while he was in jail serving a drug sentence, didn’t want anything to do with the Baltimore Police Department. “I don’t particularly care for any of them,” he said. “I told them I wanted them to lose my phone number and forget about me.”


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