Poll: Philadelphians say their city is less safe than America’s largest cities

The Philadelphia Skyline from the 'Rocky Steps' at the Philly Art Museum. Photo by Steve Lange, courtesy of Flickr Commons.

By John N. Mitchell

PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia residents’ perception of their own personal safety is the lowest of residents in the nation’s 10 largest cities, according to a recent public safety poll.

“Trust is average in Philadelphia compared to other cities,” said Michael Simon, CEO and founder of Elucd, the software company that surveyed city dwellers. “Irrespective of crime statistics, residents of Philadelphia feel less safe than their peers in other large American cities. We observe that this measure is relative to expectations — as in, people report how they see the world, not based on crime statistics. In this case, Philadelphians express lower confidence than we generally see in their safety and higher fear of crime.”

New Yorkers, on average, said they felt safer in their city than Philadelphians do in theirs.

Elucd surveyed about 554 Philadelphians last month, just before Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw took her post.

The company asked resident questions such as: How safe do you feel in your neighborhood? Do the police in your neighborhood treat residents with respect? Do the police in my neighborhood consider the concerns of residents?

The company then tallied up respondents’ answers to arrive at a “safety score.” Philadelphia got a 53. New York got a 63.

Philadelphia has been besieged by several policing incidents in recent years that have not necessarily placed the city in a positive light.

The city’s homicide rate has spiked continuously over the last three years, topping out at 355 in 2019. Last year’s total was the highest it’s been since 2007, when 391 homicides were committed recorded.

And this year, homicides are up again. As of 12 a.m., Monday the city had seen 45 murders, up 18 percent from the same day in 2019.

Last August, the nation and the world watched as 36-year-old Maurice Hill allegedly fired hundreds of rounds from multiple firearms in a standoff with law enforcement that lasted almost eight hours and ended with at least six officers being injured.

John N. Mitchell is a reporter and columnist for the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared.