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Prepared by: John K. Buller 10/28/2013 1


Neighborhood Safety Partnership:


A Communications Pilot Program




October 28, 2013


“Respect is based on the perception that someone at a high ethical and powerful level, is


advancing my interests”



Neighborhood Safety Partnership Program has been chosen to define the impact of a new effort at

stopping crime by reducing fear and building partnerships between the surrounding Seattle community

and the Seattle Police Department. Points-of-view and key findings from this Pilot Project come from:

1) John K. Buller working as the lead communications consultant with the Seattle Police department for

the past 3 years. Buller focused on the department to improve their internal and external communications

strategy that make effective community communications a core competency of Policing.

2) These findings respond to the challenges defined by a Consortium event held in Seattle, December

2012, attended by 17 Police Chiefs and Sheriffs, 17 University Criminal Justice researchers from around

the country, and 16 Seattle community organizers. A key question was asked of all participants: define

just one thing they believed to be the most important activity needed to be researched and applied. This

single point, if properly implemented, would have the most positive and dynamic impact on community

relationships with policing organizations desirous to improve their community perception.

The research in this presentation applies survey results to gain a preliminary understanding on the impact

different communication strategies have on a community’s view and feelings about their Police




Prepared by John K. Buller


Communications Consultant


For more information please contact John Buller


at or 206.321.0016.

Prepared by: John K. Buller 10/28/2013 2




THE CHALLENGE……………………………………………………………………………3

THE PROJECT……………………………………………………………… 3

METHODS………………………………………………………………….. 5


Designing the Surveys




Executing the Surveys




The Neighborhood Crime Prevention Campaign Timing Elements



KEY FINDINGS………………………………………………………..….. 8

TABLES & GRAPHS………………………………………………………10


CONCLUDING THOUGHTS…………………………………………… 13


Prepared by: John K. Buller 10/28/2013 3




Finding the compelling activities, which most effectively improve a Police Departments ability to create

community partnerships, built on mutual trust and respect.






Defining, measuring and understanding the impact of a decentralized, neighborhood specific, multichanneled,

communications engagement strategy focused on crime prevention neighborhood partnerships

that enhance levels of mutual trust and respect between those neighborhoods and Seattle Police

Department (SPD).




Reliance on another person or entity




Expressions of high or special regard




Close cooperation between parties having specified joint rights and responsibilities






The Seattle Police Department organized and hosted a national conversation about how to define the “best

practice” for activities and practices having the greatest positive impact on creating enhanced community

partnerships and community trust. I am struck with the thought that the SPD communications strategy is

the core activity/practice that will accomplish this concept of the “Best Practice”.

Individuals experiencing an officer interaction asking the right questions, listening to answers and

explaining what or why they are doing specific actions.

Engaging organized groups of citizens asking for their safety concerns, with local officers listening

and explaining their understanding of each neighborhoods crime analysis, and concerns.

Defining neighborhood specific crime prevention strategies and creating neighborhood partnerships

directly designed to keep neighborhood crime low by forming this new bond.

SPD’s neighborhood social media strategy, specifically engineered to be transparent, balanced and

proactive – enabling the neighborhoods to engage at their desired level and have easy access to

information relevant to where they live.

Prepared by: John K. Buller 10/28/2013 4

The new world of communications is multi-channeled, interpersonal, socially interactive and micro

focused. Residence tendencies points directly to crime in their own neighborhoods and communities want

to believe they can have a voice in the process of keeping their neighborhood safe.




To define, measure and understand the impact on residences trust and mutual respect of the New SPD

Neighborhood Communications Engagement Strategy.




Consumers are becoming more connected and desirous of instant information. They want it now, and they

want it fast. SPD has for years used precinct based community relations strategies based upon assorted

community activists meetings to define the departments community outreach efforts. Though these

meetings are of value, their limitations in a new high technology world do not reach all of the citizens

interested in crime prevention. The department has taken steps to enhance these meetings with the

addition of the “Living Room Chats” which again are working well but do not reach a critical mass of

residences. With the addition of “Tweets by Beat”, 24/7, online public safety survey and adding blogs to

the precinct web pages, the infrastructure for a new broad based, neighborhood specific communications

approach is now possible.

This pilot program selected 2 neighborhoods

The neighborhoods, engage not only with the existing community partners, but will also add other

social welfare organizations like, local Chambers of Commerce, service groups such as Rotary, Kiwanis

and others, neighborhood churches, and Night Out captains

A neighborhood specific communications campaign asked all of these groups to complete the


24/7 Public Safety Survey


(on-line or hard copy) giving SPD specific concerns and questions for their

individual neighborhoods (Safety Survey – –Links on the SPD web site and SPD


Prior to the execution of this communication campaign we bolstered the potential of our results by

adding a base line Trust Survey #1 in these neighborhoods for their opinion about their level of trust in

SPD’s operation (Trust Survey #1 enclosed)

After the neighborhoods gave their input (24/7 Safety Survey) the Precinct Captain for each

neighborhood communicated the results. These included what was learned overall, presentation of the

actual 1 year crime analysis and detailing of the adjusted

Crime Prevention Strategy.

Neighborhood assigned patrol officers are a part of this effort by making sure the extended partners

receive feedback and follow up.

30-60 days after this outreach effort is completed we resurvey the 2 neighborhoods to define what

impact this neighborhood specific engagement approach had on the trust scores.(Trust Survey #2)

If this concept is successful at improving trust and respect in the pilot neighborhoods, SPD could

refine this model and use this campaign approach to replicate in the rest of Seattle’s neighborhoods




Pilot: Columbia City and Park Side in the High Point housing (West Seattle)




See methodology.

Prepared by: John K. Buller 10/28/2013 5




Designing the Surveys




To find the actions and values most effective in improving a police department’s ability to create

community partnerships built on mutual trust and respect.


The Trust Survey 1


The Trust Survey effort was implemented to understand the value in improving neighborhood

communications, in an impactful way. Several of the core key findings are not new:


people who interact with good officers (who know the power of a conversation) have a higher

regard for the officer as well as the department.


people disrespected by an aggressive officer not only dislike the behavior but also will tell

their story to anyone that will listen.

The survey was designed around questions focusing on activities and behaviors in which an officer could

be reasonably held accountable. Each of the 6 questions below reflect my thoughts on what every officer

and department should have as a professional standard (the scale was 1 low-5 high).

1) Do you trust the Seattle Police officers to enforce the law fairly in your neighborhood?

2) Do you trust that Seattle Police understand your neighborhoods crime prevention needs?

3) Do you believe Seattle Police have the right crime prevention strategy for your neighborhood?

4) SPD’s Officers level of professionalism?

5) SPD’s overall department communications?

6) SPD’s Officers individual communications skills?

Each of these statements should be easily administrated and expected as a standard of professional

behavior that citizens should be able to experience and observe when dealing with and thinking about the

Seattle Police Department. The survey then asked for a zip code and comments.


Trust Survey 2


Trust Survey 2 is the same as #1 with 3 added qualifiers:

1) Have you taken this survey before?

2) Did you attend a Night Out block party?

3) Has your opinion about the SPD gotten better, worse or stayed the same?

The goal here was to add to the score comparisons as some filter on some specific thing that might impact

the scores. As well as offering a directional question about SPD getting credit for changing (better or


Prepared by: John K. Buller 10/28/2013 6


The Neighborhood Safety Survey


SPD for the last 2 years has had a 24/7 Neighborhood Safety Survey containing a variety of questions

which give citizens the opportunity to discuss crime and Police behaviors ( ). For this

survey effort, we focused on 4 basic questions:

1) How safe do you feel in your neighborhood?

2) Of a list of 16 problems which are on-going in your neighborhood?

3) Compared to last year, the level of crime is lower, higher, same?

4) Your zip-code.

These are the same crime areas that the department keeps analysis on.




The goal profited by keeping the surveys short and easy to understand and having participants focus on

clear, concise activities and behaviors. We wanted to leverage the growing success of “Night Out”. By

focusing on neighborhood crime prevention the surveys:

gave direction to the challenges

pointed out the most effective activities improving the Police Departments ability to create

community partnerships built on mutual trust and respect.


Executing the Surveys


The key challenge was to get high percentage of completed surveys all associated with a few

neighborhoods, and Night Out offered the perfect opportunity for this project. Seattle has a very robust

Night Out effort with over 1,300 individuals registering their block parties. For many neighborhoods,

Night Out, is the local party. Finding the right neighborhood to ask to participate in this project was also

very straightforward.

Columbia City is a fast, growing, older neighborhood that had seen better days. However, over the last 5

years the neighborhood has been rediscovered. Columbia City also has the distinction of being one of the

most diverse neighborhoods in America, thusly making it a prime target. The final element produced a

positive result as a small restaurant chain,

Tuta Bella, founded in Columbia by a very community oriented

person by the name of Joe Fugere seemed a perfect fit. Joe was asked if he would be interested in helping

with this pilot effort and agreed with eagerness.

As a check and balance, I also asked two smaller neighborhoods to take the

1st Trust Survey to ensure

there was a control group within the survey effort. West Seattle has a significant diverse housing

development, which use to be a low income project built in the 60s, and has now been reborn. A friend

lives in one section of the development (Park Side) where there are 40 homes. She was in charge of her

Night Out activities so we essentially piggy-backed and asked to have her neighbors take the survey.

Through long-standing connections, we were able to coordinate the same in the Maple Leaf neighborhood

where a condo group completed the survey.

Prepared by: John K. Buller 10/28/2013 7




Several methods were used to implement survey completions. They fit with what I thought would be the

answer –

all of these neighborhoods have a group of people who attend meetings on neighborhood crime


neighborhood leaders all have e-mail lists and neighborhood friends who discuss this topic and

work very hard to keep their neighborhood safe.

The police have crime prevention coordinators and community outreach units that work very hard

to engage neighborhoods.

The underlying problem is that the neighborhoods are larger than the effort being put forth by SPD to

have people come to community outreach meetings. America is in a social communication explosion and

Police are handicapped by not having database strengths and poor mass e-mail abilities.

Two distinct groups filled out the surveys. In July for 3 weeks every customer that had a meal at Tutta

Bella received the paper

Trust Survey 1 with his or her bill. In late September and early October the same

happened again, only they were given the slightly modified,

Trust Survey 2.

Simultaneously an e-mail was crafted with the

Trust Survey 1 link to Survey Monkey site. The e-mail

came from Joe, the owner of Tutta Bella, personally. A second email from Joe, was again sent in October

with the modified

Trust Survey 2.

The scenario was repeated again in August around the Night Out event with Joe personally sending out

the e-mail. In all cases the e-mail survey was sent to approximately 150 individuals and in all efforts we

received about 50-60 online responses representing a substantial 30-35% return. In the next section you

will see the scores and responses for these efforts


The Neighborhood Crime Prevention Campaign Timing Elements


The Campaign Neighborhoods


– Columbia City

The Control Group Neighborhoods Park Side and Maple Leaf


) Contacting Neighborhood Leadership to bring them on board and committed to being of

help in getting the neighbors involved [Chambers – Business leadership Churches- Rotary –Social

Welfare Groups e.t.c.]

Buller to do-Precincts help if they want




Late June – Meeting with key Precinct Leadership and Neighborhood Officers

[this is to make sure every one is Knowledgeable and supportive of this Pilot Program


Buller to Organize with the Precincts


[Neighborhoods leadership is all ready on board and have

committed to being of help in getting the neighbors involved]




Starting July 10th –The Trust Survey 1

is taken in the Identified Neighborhoods to establish

a Base Level of that neighborhoods overall trust of SPD

Buller to Manage




August 6th Night Out

The Neighborhood Crime Prevention Campaign begins


July26th [in conjunction with Seafair]


—Posters- Take Ones E-mail campaign– All of that

Prepared by: John K. Buller 10/28/2013 8

Neighborhoods Meetings –ask people to fill out [on-line or Hard copy] the 24/7 Neighborhood Safety


Buller to Manage – Possible SPD Explores help Neighborhood groups receive printed





Month of August –Each Precinct does its Crime analysis of that neighborhood

Auto crimes and3] Individual bad behavior


(See chart on Neighborhood Safety survey.)


Target Neighborhood


Zip Code 98118– Columbia City and Seward Park

Prepared by: John K. Buller 10/28/2013 12


Creating a new policing paradigm.


The policing departments around the country developed their community outreach strategies in the middle

90’s, which precluded the explosion in personal technology information gathering. In general, they have

not changed since then. Only in the last few years have the departments discovered the use of Twitter as a

way to provide timely and efficient information to citizens interested in crime and police activities.

However, in all cases these have been focused on the city as a whole, instead of the real need for broad

based communications at the neighborhood level. The answer to the key and most significant question of

what enhances trust, lies pointedly and emphatically in a decentralized, neighborhood specific, multichanneled,

communications engagement strategy. This strategy focuses on crime prevention and

neighborhood partnerships which enhance all levels of mutual trust and respect between those

neighborhoods and SPD.


Creating a decentralized, neighborhood specific multi-channeled, communications


engagement strategy.


Elements already active and performing well;


Contacts in person


– Block watch captains, Night Out organizers, the Snap Program, Living Room

Conversations, Safe Communities, Neighborhood Safety Committee Meetings, special interest meetings,

and Precinct Picnics. All of these personal outreach activities are available.


On-line Activities


– Re-defined SPD Web Site, SPD Blotter, SPD Twitter Account, Tell SPD Safety

Survey-@SeattlePD 40404, Get Your bike back, Stolen Car Web Site.


Precinct specific Communications


– Tweet by Beat and the Precinct Web pages.


Elements that need to be completed to maximize the power of communications:


Completion and adoption of the SPD’s new communications policy allowing a

more decentralized communications to the Officers and precinct leadership.

Completion of the Precinct Web Sites adding a blog element to these sites

allowing each precinct to more frequently post information and conversation with their


Completion of the automated Crime by Beat function to complement the Tweet by

Beat function.

Having the 24/7 Neighborhood Safety Survey owned by the crime prevention and

community outreach officers.

Creation of a consistent newsletter that is precinct based but provides Beat specific

information. This effort should be measured by the # of e-mails per beat.

Redefining the SPD’s Crime Prevention culture. Precincts Officers, Crime Prevention

teams and Community Outreach all need to be on the same strategy. There should be more

structure in managing and engaging neighborhoods into partnerships that start with the frequency

and consistency of providing crime prevention information. Neighbors need to feel that there is

real effort and concern about everyone working together to protect property, autos and stopping

individual’s bad behavior.

Prepared by: John K. Buller 10/28/2013 13

Building the Audience in each Neighborhood. E-mails, page views and followers,

every neighborhood every district everyone engaging neighbors in following their SPD precinct


Monthly Neighborhood Newsletter


Communicate the Crime Prevention Strategy in the following key areas


(Emailed and posted on the precinct web site)


) Activity of the neighborhood’s 911 calls


What was the # of calls to 911 from this neighborhood over the last 4-6 months by crime breakdown

(crime code) compared to this month’s crime? This report should define the expectations of when an

Officer will get to the call based on priority of the call.


2) Neighborhood crime history


What was the crime history in the neighborhood for the last 4-6 months by crime codes compared to this

month’s crime?


3) Neighborhood policing coverage


What is the neighborhood policing coverage and any other policing information that defines how SPD

manages the neighborhood?


4) Predictive crime analysis


Describe the new efforts on predictive crime efforts (or hot spot information) and the impact on how

crime is being proactively addressed.


5) Any other information that might impact neighborhood crime and SPD’s effort


–(maybe names

and #’s of the Crime prevention officer).


6) SPD’s neighborhood outreach efforts that you feel might be useful to this neighborhood



room chats, neighborhood coffees, plus information from the 24/7 neighborhood safety survey etc).


7) Conclusion


Summary of key thoughts.




With regard to the potential of continuing the efficacy of this effort, there is very little cost to making this

strategy a powerful and nationally recognized program. This program has underscored the importance and

understanding the Seattle Police Department has valued in treating Communication as a required skill,

with proper oversight within, guaranteeing progress in gaining community trust as a vital organization

with respectful individuals serving and protecting. But in no uncertain terms, these surveys and results

have shown this is a cultural issue not an operational issue. At the very core, it all starts with the Officer

believing that Public Perception matters and how they demonstrate respect to others will be returned with

others giving respect to them. With the proven positive steps over the period of these surveys, the

Department needs to commit to a vigorous completion of the communication vision. The opportunity to

set a national high-bar of success and show the nation the power of a decentralized, neighborhood

specific, multi-channeled, communications engagement strategy, stands ready. This is a moment when

The Seattle Police Department can shine and lead.

Prepared by: John K. Buller 10/28/2013 14




Addendum 2. Picture of the restaurant Tutta Bella, where the neighborhood survey was conducted.


Additional photos of the survey itself and the promotional items by the restaurant.


Prepared by: John K. Buller 10/28/2013 15


Addendum 1. Comments from Survey Trust #1, all online comments


The SPD blotter is informative. The SPD appears at South Seattle crime prevention meetings. “South Seattle

Cop” sometimes weighs in on the Rainier Valley Post, and although he is probably not authorized to do so, it is

quite informative to help citizens understand the crimes in the neighborhood.

8/3/2013 10:54 AM

View respondent’s answers

Noji Gardens

8/2/2013 2:01 PM

View respondent’s answers

A greatly appreciate Mark Solomon’s police newsletter that he sends out to the SE residents.

8/2/2013 1:21 PM

View respondent’s answers

I think they are doing an ok job but there is so much more they could be doing. Increase respectful interactions

even when residents get frustrated so that we can continue to build trust. Increase the understanding that when

a minority is stopped and questioned if they are innocent it is an insult because rightfully so they know if they

were not a minority they would not have been stopped or questioned. So making sure when I drive down rainier I

see all people talking to SPD the more trust there will be. If SPD makes a habit of talking to more people instead

of questioning I think trust will improve. I am a white women who is around rainier more then my daughter and

husband both black. I have never been stopped or questioned yet both of them have. Maybe making sure we

use community policing to just check in with all residents so everyone sees people of all colors just talking to

SPD maybe that will help the trust and in turn safety

8/2/2013 6:29 AM

View respondent’s answers

I don’t really know what their strategy is or how they communicate.

8/1/2013 11:11 PM

View respondent’s answers

W need more police presence and support.

8/1/2013 11:00 PM

View respondent’s answers

The problem I believe is not enough police…but then I am a middle-class, middle-aged white woman, so am not

hassled by the police.

8/1/2013 9:33 PM

View respondent’s answers

I’ve been pleased with any interactions I’ve had with SPD. I would just like to see more police presence on our

streets. I think that would discourage the amt. of break-ins.

8/1/2013 8:38 PM

View respondent’s answers

You guys are great but we want to see more of you! Thanks for all you do.

8/1/2013 7:38 PM

View respondent’s answers

Have my business in Columbia City and am there most days.

7/31/2013 10:22 AM

View respondent’s answers

They could spend more time waking around the high crime areas and talking to merchants and meeting the kids

on the streets.

7/31/2013 10:01 AM

View respondent’s answers

Police do a great job, we just need more officers and higher visibility. I know that the department is stretched

very thin and are doing the best they can with the resources they have.

7/31/2013 9:47 AM

View respondent’s answers

I worry both about young men of color being stopped by SPD, and by the level of these same young men dying

by violence. As an elder female resident, I also worry about my personal safety. SPD has a very tough job, and

has been under scrutiny for so long. I appreciate this outreach.

7/29/2013 10:34 AM

View respondent’s answers

What has happened to the old gang units, they really had a handle on the problem….. Get rid of the gangs…. do

not feel safe in my neighborhood at night anymore !!!!

7/27/2013 7:57 AM

View respondent’s answers

More than once I have overheard officers talking to each other after responding to a call in the neighborhood

saying, “Well what else do they expect around here? Shouldn’t they just be used to it by now?”

7/26/2013 11:32 AM

View respondent’s answers

need cops walking a beat, visiting businesses, holding safety meetings in apt complexes I.e. THE

GREENHOUSE for one, more visibility late night & early morning, around bus stops

7/26/2013 10:35 AM

View resp


Addendum 3. Comments from Survey Trust #2, all online comments


we all realize SPD is understaffed. hopefully, this will change in the future.

10/24/2013 3:12 PM

View respondent’s answers

I do not believe it is the citizens who need to change their attitudes about trust. It is the police department.

10/18/2013 3:00 PM

View respondent’s answers

SPD needs more professionalism

Prepared by: John K. Buller 10/28/2013 16

10/17/2013 3:46 PM

View respondent’s answers

I do not feel safe in my neighborhood. I feel stuck by my economic status in the neighborhood and would like to feel

my 5 year old child is safe here.

10/17/2013 3:06 PM

View respondent’s answers

I am happy to see more of a police presence along the Rainier / 57th area. Crime deterrent strategy. I live in the

area and want to have a safe area for my own walks and with my grandchildren from people who may be involved

in gang or drug activity.

10/17/2013 11:22 AM

View respondent’s answers

need officers to walk or bike streets where gangs are active and where shootings strong arm assaults robberies

take place in Rainier Beach area = a visual show of protective force will make neighbors feel safe to walk to stores,

community center, light rail, parks, beaches thanks!

10/17/2013 8:09 AM

View respondent’s answers

I believe there are great individual police officers, who work very hard. Also, I feel leadership does the best they are

able to do with the resources they have available. SPD doesn’t seem to have the capacity to implement the type of

police service needed to best serve 98118. I think policing has improved in our neighborhood, having lived her over

20 years. It’s frustrating because I love my home, and I love my neighbors–but I don’t feel as safe as I do in other

neighborhoods. That said, there is a negative image of our neighborhood which it doesn’t entirely deserve. More

positive press about RB is needed, and keep up the great work building community. We also need our businesses

to step to the plate and help with crime prevention… i.e. light up Henderson and Rainier with attractive lighting or


10/16/2013 9:22 PM

View respondent’s answers

We live on 43rd Ave south. The street that was on lock down after fatal shooting.

10/16/2013 12:59 PM

View respondent’s answers

I think the police are doing the best they can with the limited budget they have. I would like to see more funds go to

their gang prevention group…of course they need more funds for that!

10/16/2013 11:22 AM

View respondent’s answers

SE Seattle seems to fall below the radar in the police department. Crimes against persons and property in this part

of town appear to have lower priority than those in other parts of town.

10/16/2013 2:25 AM



View respondent’s answers

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