Apr 8, 2022 - News

Poll: Public safety is Philadelphia's No. 1 issue

Percentage of Philadelphia residents who say these issues are most important
Data: Pew Philadelphia Poll 2020 and 2022; Note: Respondents could mention more than one issue; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

A majority of Philadelphians list public safety as the top issue facing the city, according to a new Pew Charitable Trusts poll released this week.

Driving the news: About 70% cited crime, drugs and public safety as the leading concerns in Philadelphia — up 29 percentage points from 2020, per the poll of more than 1,500 residents conducted from Jan. 3-31.

  • 65% reported hearing gunshots in their neighborhood in the last year, while 63% said the city is "pretty seriously on the wrong track."
  • 44% said they felt safe in their neighborhoods at night, which is the lowest since the poll began in 2009.

Of note: SSRS, an independent research company in Glen Mills, conducted the poll for Pew. It has a margin of error of ±3.4%.

State of play: The city is in the midst of a gun violence crisis, which led to a record year for homicides in 2021.

  • Killings were slightly down in Philadelphia on Wednesday, at 127, compared to the same time last year, according to police.

Zoom in: The poll also found the pandemic is continuing to affect people more than two years after it arrived in Philly.

  • 47% said they know someone who has died from the virus.
  • 32% said their financial situation is worse now compared to March 2020.

The bright spot: Philadelphians also expressed optimism about the future.

  • 53% said the city's best days are ahead.

Go deeper: Read the full report.


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