Huntley police received hundreds of comments in a survey conducted this summer and learned residents want to know what crimes are occurring in their neighborhoods, Huntley Police Chief John Perkins said.
More than 800 Huntley residents responded to the survey seeking input on everything from the type of service police are providing to whether or not people feel safe walking in their neighborhood.
“What stuck out is residents want current information on crimes,” Perkins told the village board Thursday night.
Perkins wants to start providing crime mapping to residents where reports would be listed on a map of Huntley then residents could click on an icon to learn more about the report. It is a project the police department will be working on as a result of the survey.
The online survey was conducted from June 14 to July 31. The department sent surveys to 2,600 people via emails and had surveys available on the village and police department websites. Perkins said 805 people responded.
Residents were asked how well the police department is doing. Huntley police’s overall approval was 93 percent, Perkins said.
“I’m actually very proud, it’s a very high rating for a police station to have,” he said.
In 2009, the police department’s overall approval was 68 percent, Perkins said.
About 50 percent of the respondents had contact with police over the last year and of that figure, 46 percent had contact through community events or presentations, while 12 percent had contact during a traffic stop, Perkins said.
“I’d much rather have them (police) put on a presentation than writing a ticket,” he said.
While Perkins felt the police department’s survey was a good reflection of the community, he is seeking more feedback. The police department is asking a question about police services on a survey the village is currently conducting. Huntley police also plans to work with the University of Illinois Chicago on a survey that will be sent to anyone who has contact with police, he said. The university will gather the feedback and give the police department a report next year.
Perkins wants to see how the department’s survey stacks up with the UIC survey, he said.
The police department’s survey asked a variety of questions including how concerned residents are of becoming a crime victim and how safe they feel walking in their neighborhood.
Fifty-eight percent of the respondents said they were fearful of becoming a crime victim and 40 percent were concerned of being a victim of a serious crime, Perkins said.
But 92 percent of respondents felt safe walking in their neighborhood, he said.
“I think I can explain some of that discrepancy,” Perkins said.
A majority of the people who responded to the survey were aged 55 and over, which reflects Sun City’s population. In the last year, there has been “unprecedented crime” in Sun City including burglaries, a domestic homicide and vandalism, he said.
He said there is an issue of perception versus reality. While respondents worry about being a victim of crime, Huntley’s crime rate is actually down, he said.
Part I crimes _ murders, rapes, robberies, aggregated assault, grand larcenies _ are down 12 percent this year, the chief said. Overall crime is down 14 percent from last year, he said.
“I hate to use crime stats too much but it’s a good sign (the stats) are trending down,” he said.
Perkins plans to have the police department respond to the concerns residents raised by providing a crime mapping system on the police department’s website, purchasing an alternative police vehicle to better patrol neighborhoods and paths, enhancing the bicycle patrol program and increasing foot patrols.
“I believe we can do even better,” Perkins said of the survey results.