By Stephanie Choate
Vehicle-based problems, primarily speeding, topped residents’ lists of concerns in a survey conducted by the Williston Police Department this summer.
A total of 325 people took the survey between July 15 and Aug. 15. That represents approximately 3.7 percent of Williston’s population.
“All in all, we were pleased with the outcome of the survey,” Police Chief Todd Shepard wrote in a report, released Monday. “Based on the type of survey (very general and unscientific) I believe this shows that we are doing a good job and have a professional standing within the community.”
Shepard wrote that many of the respondents included general comments—some positive and some offering criticism.
“Some respondents expressed criticisms in the general comments section and we will be taking a close look at those comments to see if there are ways for us to improve,” he wrote. “Most criticisms concerned excessive speed issues, but some were directed toward interactions with employees and others about police equipment.”
When asked to what extent certain issues are “a problem within the Williston community,” respondents listed their top concern as speeding, followed by vehicles not stopping at intersections, car break-ins, burglaries/home invasions and drug use.
“It was evident in my first year as Police Chief, after looking at our traffic crash statistics, that more attention is needed in and around intersections, but also noted that our officers have been doing a tremendous job,” Shepard wrote in the report. “Efforts commenced prior to this survey to obtain additional grant funding for extra traffic safety enforcement efforts.”
The daytime crimes survey respondents were most worried about included identity theft, Internet crimes toward children, children exposed to illegal substances and having homes burglarized. Nighttime crime worries included “driving in the town” and strangers loitering near homes or business.
Survey respondents generally rated the police department’s services as “good.”
Almost everyone who took the survey said their neighborhoods felt safe—just 12 responded negatively. Most also reported generally positive interactions with officers.
Looking forward, respondents expressed interest in electronic crime alerts, rape aggression defense (RAD) training and web-based incident reporting by community. In the report, Shepard said one of the department’s goals for this year is getting an employee certified in RAD or looking into alternatives.
See the full report online www.town.williston.vt.us/police or click the link below.