New Burlington public safety survey launches

Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 11:37 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - After four months in the making, the city of Burlington’s new public safety survey is officially up and running.

The assessment, which takes about 10 to 15 minutes to complete, seeks Burlington residents’ input on how to make the Queen City safer and healthier. It asks people how safe they feel in Burlington during the day and at night, what they think the biggest public safety concerns are, and how comfortable they are calling Burlington police.

With the help of Talitha Consults, a Washington State-based firm, the Police and Public Safety Joint Commission launched the survey on Thursday. The city recruited Talitha Consults to assist the joint committee in crafting the survey.

Principal Charis May Hnin says since January, they held multiple virtual town halls and meetings with the public and various stakeholders in Burlington to decide which questions to ask.

“After that, we carefully analyzed using qualitative analysis software to pull up core themes that we’re hearing from all of these engagements and that’s how we pulled out concerns and questions that we incorporated into the public survey,” Hnin said.

Some of the safety concerns that were consistently brought up during public forums were assault, DUIs, and police brutality.

“I’ve had friends who have been jumped or seen sketchy figures— people that I don’t want to interact with,” said Riley Earle.

“Maybe texting is even a bigger hazard. You know, this is the modern world. It used to be DUI. It might be texting these days,” said bicyclist Charles McClintock.

“That’s very noticeable— the crimes that happen in Burlington against Black people or people of color,” said Mia Andreozzi, a Champlain College graduate.

City leaders and Talitha Consults are urging as many people as possible, of different backgrounds, to take the assessment so that they can get a holistic sense of how to move forward in creating a safer and healthier city for everyone.

“That’s our hope. As far as what the survey will do, it’s really early to tell because we need to gather the data and the survey will inform, and hopefully shape, the next steps that the joint committee would need to consider,” Hnin said.

Some of the Burlington stakeholders that collaborated with the joint committee and Talitha Consults on this project include the city’s Racial Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Office, ANEW Place, the Howard Center, Steps to End Domestic Violence, Outright Vermont, and Turning Point Center of Chittenden County.

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