What do Fairview residents think about the Anchorage Police Department? Survey says ...

Published: Jul. 1, 2017 at 10:15 PM AKDT
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It's back to basics for a group of AmeriCorps volunteers with the Office of the Mayor, with a small group going out and gathering data the old fashioned way: Knocking on doors around town.

In order to get an idea of what people think about the Anchorage Police Dept. in what many consider to be Anchorage's most at-risk neighborhoods, a small group - including a pair of Mayor's AmeriCorps Program volunteers - were canvassing the Fairview neighborhood Saturday.

"Essentially, we're the community liaison for the police department this summer," said Demry Mebane, a Mayor's AmeriCorps Program member.

This year is the first time the program is in Anchorage. Through the Office of the Mayor, two-person teams are put in various Municipality departments.

Mebane and fellow Mayor's AmeriCorps Program member Sevy Sheppard are with the Anchorage Police Dept. Their mission this summer is to get an understanding of what exactly the community needs from the police department by surveying residents in specific neighborhoods.

"It's important because people sometimes feel it's hard to reach the police," Sheppard said. "Especially if they're in an area that is maybe is disadvantaged or it feels like they're not heard. So that gives us the opportunity to allow people to tell us what they're feeling."

The survey, Mebane said, is split up into three portions. The first part is on neighborhood safety, the second is on the Anchorage Police Dept. itself, and the third is on demographics.

Some questions are limited to "yes" or "no" responses. Others, such as "How safe do you feel walking in your neighborhood?" and "Would you say crime in the area has increased, decreased or remained the same?" are multiple choice. Still others are open-ended.

As for what the two have been hearing, they both said there have been a lot of positive reactions thus far.

"Sevy and I were really surprised to see so many positive reactions," Mebane said. "People in Anchorage are actually extremely happy with their police department. And honestly they just want to see more police presence."

The survey is set to continue until the two are done with Fairview, when they will move on to Mountain View and Spenard for the same data gathering.