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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Life in Hampton Roads, Part II: Public Satisfaction with Police in Decline but Trust Still High

Hampton Roads residents remain satisfied with the work of local police - with a caveat.

According to the sixth annual Life in Hampton Roads Survey, conducted by Old Dominion University's Social Science Research Center, 80.7 percent of Hampton Roads residents are at least somewhat satisfied with local police.

However, that represents a decrease in overall satisfaction for the fourth consecutive year, from a high of 88.7 in 2012.

Sociology professor Randy Gainey, director of the Social Science Research Center, also noted, "There is a significant difference in satisfaction with the local police across the seven cities of Hampton Roads."

For example, he said, "88.6 percent of Suffolk residents and 87.4 percent of Chesapeake residents reported being very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with their local police, compared to 73.4 percent of Norfolk residents and 69.6 percent of Portsmouth residents."

The survey report on crime and politics was released today. The report on regional, city and neighborhood quality of life was released Monday.

Survey reports on health and education will be released Wednesday, transportation and tolls Thursday, and flooding and sea-level rise Friday

Nearly 900 respondents were also asked how much they trust local police. The majority of weighted responses (83.2 percent) indicated great or moderate trust. Only 6.3 percent reported not trusting the police at all, and 9.5 percent reported not trusting the police much.

As for personal safety, 64.6 percent reported little fear of being robbed or mugged on the street, while 42.6 percent said they at least mildly feared their house being broken into while they are away.

Interestingly, nearly a third of those who responded reported having had personal or financial information stolen through identity theft.

As for politics, most respondents reported feeling closer to the Democratic Party (35.3 percent) or being Independent (31.4 percent). Only 19.4 percent reported feeling closer to the Republican Party.

And although more respondents said they aligned with Democrats, 7 percent more people reported being conservative than liberal.

Gainey said this in part reflects the presence of non-white conservatives who often do not affiliate with the Republican Party. For instance, 24.9 percent of African American respondents identify as conservative, but only 2.6 percent of African American respondents self-identify as Republicans.

The 2015 Life In Hampton Roads Survey, as well as results from previous surveys and methodology, can be found at the Social Science Research Center website.