Based on the results of a biennial survey, the Bismarck Police Department has an average to excellent image with more than 90 percent of the community — but there’s apparently room for improvement as well.
Those are among the conclusions of the 2019 survey, which is used in part for department planning, training police officers, establishing law enforcement services and developing strategies to respond to resident needs.
The survey was conducted online, with the goal of receiving 1,000 responses. By the time the survey period closed, the department received 913 responses.
In general, most Bismarck residents feel safe in their neighborhoods and believe crime in Bismarck is comparable to other similar-sized cities across America, or average.
And while 9 out of 10 respondents said they haven’t been the victim of a crime, the fear of crime has caused half of those responding to make unspecified changes in their general activities.
Interestingly, most Bismarck residents said they’re not interested in a Neighborhood Crime Watch program with police, with 72 percent saying, “No thanks.”
The biggest issues affecting neighborhoods, according to the survey, are traffic and parking matters, animal complaints and neighborhood appearance.
Of those surveyed who reported having contacted or interacted with the police, most were satisfied with the way officers responded.
At the same time, 3 out of 4 people felt the department could make improvements in areas such as increasing staffing, more visible community interaction, improved people skills and better retention of experienced staff.
Dealing with traffic issues seemed to be a “hot button” issue for most of those surveyed: Many wanted an increased focus on traffic violations such as speeding and running red lights, while others felt the police need to put less focus on traffic violations and more on serious crimes and investigations.
In general, 90 percent of those surveyed said the overall performance of the Bismarck Police Department has stayed the same or improved over the past year.
You can read and download the complete survey report here.