Dedham residents are most concerned about illegal drugs, school safety, alcohol abuse, break-ins, and property theft, according to a police survey released Thursday.
Of the 517 who responded to the survey, 68 percent listed that they were “concerned” or “very concerned” with illegal drugs and with school safety, the highest total of the 21 crimes listed.
Close behind two front-runners were children being safe in their neighborhood, with 66 percent concerned or very concerned; homes being burglarized and underage alcohol abuse, at 65 percent; property theft at 63 percent' and drunk driving at 62 percent.
Residents were least concerned about parking problems, bicycles riding against traffic, and noise.
About 500 residents responded to the survey, which was launched early this year. Police have begun analyzing the data with the goal of identifying areas of concern and determining what actions the police can take, according to a statement from Police Chief Michael d’Entremont.
More than half of respondents said Dedham has about the same crime rate as other neighboring towns, but 38 percent said they thought there was more crime in Dedham. Only 9 percent said they thought there was less.
About 55 percent of residents thought crime had increased in the past year, with 4 percent thinking it had decreased. The rest thought it stayed the same.
Residents were most interested in police focusing on identifying illegal drug dealers, tracking registered sex offenders, and neighborhood patrols.
Residents were less interested in police starting drug/alcohol awareness programs, conducting neighborhood meetings, and starting a police athletic league.
The Dedham police themselves got high marks in the survey. Of the 75 percent who said they had an interaction with a Dedham police officer in the past two years, 91 percent said the officer was courteous and helpful, and 90 percent said the officer adequately addressed their concerns.
Police response was delivered faster than expected for 64 percent of residents who responded, and another 30 percent said the officer arrived within the expected time frame.
Police also did well in the areas of being knowledgeable and keeping residents informed of actions they took related to resident problems.
For full results, click here.