Report: Reckless, drunk driving, residential and home burglaries top safety concerns in Burbank

Reckless and drunk driving as well as home and car burglaries were identified by citizens as problematic issues in Burbank, according to the results of an online survey administered by the Burbank Police Department.

More than 350 people completed the survey, though not everyone answered every question, the results showed.

Citizens were asked to evaluate how problematic they found a number of crime and quality of life issues, as well as how safe they felt in different areas of the city, and the helpfulness of their interactions with police.

"What we're trying to do is be open and transparent and realize there's always need for improvement, we're never going to rest on our laurels," said Burbank Police Chief Scott LaChasse.

The results, released by officials this week, showed that 66% of respondents identified speeding or reckless driving as a problem, while roughly half identified home and vehicle burglaries as problematic.

Meanwhile, roughly 40% of respondents felt that way about drinking and driving, as well as vandalism.

Regarding quality of life issues, 33% of respondents identified homelessness as a problem, while nearly a quarter identified drug use as being a problem. Neighbors were not worried about prostitution in Burbank, with just 5% identifying it as a problem.

A majority of the respondents — 64% — had contact with a police officer within the last year, and 84% reported being satisfied with their last police interaction. Roughly 77% of citizens who took the survey reported feeling that there's sufficient police presence in the city for them to feel safe.

"The numbers are good, it shows a high level of approval," LaChasse said.

The community survey was a requirement for the department to become accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, a pursuit that remains ongoing. The commission requires that accredited law enforcement agencies administer a survey every three years, according to Burbank Police Lt. Armen Dermenjian.

Longtime Burbank resident Carolyn Hotchkiss, who found out about the survey via Twitter, appreciated the opportunity to give feedback to the department, even though she said she lives in a safe part of town with no major crime and police have always been responsive to her.

“People need to be able to tell them if they’re doing a good job, or if there’s something they need to attend to,” Hotchkiss said. “If they don’t know if something’s wrong, they can’t fix it.”

She did suggest that officials consider also mailing the survey to residents, as her mother doesn’t use the Internet and therefore did not take the survey.

In the future, officials may consider adding a more extensive public comment section to the survey, as well as administering print versions of the survey in an attempt to reach more people, Dermenjian said.

"Some of these forced questions don't necessarily cover every situation, so if there's a place for people to comment, we might receive valuable feedback," Dermenjian said.

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