In December, the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) launched a new public survey tool and began gathering responses from city residents to better understand their concerns and attitudes about police officers. The survey, launched in partnership with Zencity, appears on mobile devices as a digital ad.
The survey tool will enable the MPD to better understand neighborhood safety issues and enhance the MPD’s responsiveness to community priorities.
In October, the Minneapolis City Council approved a three-year contract with Zencity, a global technology company that uses online channels and surveys for community engagement and public safety and has worked with hundreds of cities, including Chicago, Phoenix, Seattle, Tulsa, Louisville, Greensboro, N.C., and San Diego.
“We are always open to deploying tools that will help us better understand the needs and the concerns of the communities we serve. Zencity is a great resource used by many of the most prestigious police departments around the world,” said MPD Chief Brian O’Hara.
“Utilizing Zencity goes beyond a consent decree or a settlement agreement. It’s the right tool to help the residents of Minneapolis. I’m excited to learn more as surveys continue to roll out.”
The survey is offered in English, Spanish, Hmong, Somali, Amharic, Oromo, Lao and Vietnamese using digital advertising technology to localize survey responses. Respondents who choose to take the survey voluntarily provide their zip code. Self-reported zip codes when combined with targeted ads on news websites, social media platforms and other applications, enables the identification of specific neighborhoods.
Based on responses, the survey will measure local residents’ satisfaction with public safety and trust in police, while pinpointing key neighborhood concerns for MPD to address.
The resident survey is the latest effort by the MPD to build community trust and to use department resources more efficiently. However, the survey is just a small part of police reform that includes mandated policy changes and federal, state and local law-enforcement partnerships, as well as ongoing public engagement.
“Re-envisioning community safety means listening to our residents and working alongside them to shape the future,” said Mayor Jacob Frey. “This perception survey will give us real-time, honest, and objective feedback as we continue to find ways to strengthen community-police relations and shift the culture of our police department.
“With this initiative, Chief O’Hara and the MPD are going above and beyond the requirements of the settlement agreement—and they will be doing the hard work to better understand our communities’ views and figure out ways to deepen the trust in the MPD for many generations to come,” said Frey.
The survey takes less than five minutes to complete. Residents can tell the MPD and local government leaders how they feel about MPD officers and public safety in their community. Some of the survey questions include:
- How safe do you feel in your neighborhood?
- Is Minneapolis PD an open and transparent organization?
- What could Minneapolis PD do to be more transparent with the community?
- How willing would you be to contact the Minneapolis Police Department if you were a victim of crime or were worried about something?
- What is the number-one issue or problem on your block or in your neighborhood that you would like the police to deal with?
Demographic information is voluntarily provided by survey respondents and is only reported by group categories. The responses give a proportional representation to all demographics (e.g., by age, sex, race and education level) based on the makeup of the city.
The survey results will be shared with the public quarterly as they become available.