In the fourth article of the Dickinson Press' five-part series, featuring local input from more than 55 respondents of a survey, we center on the current state of crime, point out the most critical issues facing the City of Dickinson as well as formulate solutions to reduce crime rates within the area.

A summary of the poll found that a majority of respondents had not required the services of law enforcement directly over the previous three years; attributed the level of crime in the community to illicit drug activities; felt somewhat safe in their community; were satisfied with the Stark County Sheriff's Office and Dickinson Police Department's performance; but believed that crime had increased.

Respondents were asked if they called the Dickinson Police Department or Stark County Sheriff’s Office for any reason in the past year and how quickly each law enforcement agency responded. The majority, or 39% of respondents, said they didn’t call or need police services; 36% said “the time it took was about right,” 12% said “they responded faster than I expected,” 10% said “they responded too slowly” and 3% said “they never came.”

Some of the biggest crime issues respondents highlighted within the survey involved drug abuse, burglaries/thefts, domestic violence, driving under the influence and traffic issues/residential speeding.

When asked what the most important causes of crime in Dickinson, respondents were given the option to choose up to two answers with 47 responses for “drugs,” 28 responses for “lenient sentencing of criminals,” 18 responses for “lack of supervision of minors,” 12 responses for “unemployment” and four responses for “poverty.”

Newsletter signup for email alerts

With a relatively safe community mindset, respondents were asked how safe they felt allowing children to play out on the streets in Dickinson and 41% said “somewhat safe,” 29% said “not at all safe,” 22% said “fairly safe” and 8% said “very safe.”

Though most of the respondents hadn’t needed police services within the past year, they were asked how satisfied they are with the interactions they’ve had with either Dickinson Police Department or the Stark County Sheriff’s Office. With that question, 47% said “satisfied,” 36% said “very satisfied,” 8% said “neither,” 5% said “very dissatisfied” and 3% said “dissatisfied.”

Respondents were asked when the last time they were the victim of a crime and 44% said “never,” 27% said “more than three years ago,” 15% said “this year” and 14% said “within in the last three years.”

The survey asked respondents if over the past three years they felt the level of crime had increased, stayed the same or decreased. 64% responded with “increased,” 27% said “stayed the same” and 8% said “decreased.”

Among the crimes in their respective communities, respondents were asked to rate how serious they felt the threat of crime was. The responses were nearly evenly divided on the severe side of the spectrum. 34% said the threat of crime in their neighborhood was “serious,” 32% said “somewhat serious,” 17% said “not too serious,” 15% said “very serious” and 2% said “not at all serious.”

Respondents were also asked how they think Dickinson and Stark County can reduce crime levels, with the overwhelming majority highlighting that “stronger prosecution and sentencing” was the key issue. 44% of respondents chose that answer.

31% responded with “increase police budget and staffing,” 15% said “increasing police patrols,” 7% “supervised activities for juveniles” and 3% said “legalizing drugs.”

Responses forthcoming

As part of this series of articles relating to education, health, poverty, economy, infrastructure, crime, taxes and budget, The Press will gather the information provided and relay the concerns to city, state and school board officials. In the following weeks, the second part of the series will feature the responses from officials with interviews relating to what actions can be taken to address concerns.