Four years ago, the results of Brooklyn Center’s residents survey didn’t paint the most flattering picture of the Minneapolis suburb. Nearly half the residents polled said they felt the city was on the “wrong track.” Many cited crime as the most pressing problem.
Four years later, perceptions have changed so dramatically that even the research firm conducting the survey expressed surprise.
City leaders recently reviewed results from the December 2012 telephone survey of residents.
Now, 83 percent of residents feel the city is on the right track, compared with 46 percent four years ago.
“Very solid numbers of people have moved from a negative position to a positive position in category after category after category,” said William Morris, with Decision Resources, which conducted the survey. “This is the highest change we’ve had in over 25 years of polling.”
City leaders say redevelopment, better code enforcement and neighborhood revitalization efforts have helped buoy residents’ perceptions.
“The viewpoints from residents are just overwhelmingly positive from what it was four years ago,” said Assistant City Manager Vickie Schleuning, “The quality-of-life numbers are higher. Violent crime isn’t considered such an issue anymore. We’re seeing a lot of revitalization in the neighborhoods and reinvestment. We have a lot of youth programs.”
Even so, there’s room for improvement, with 32 percent of residents still citing rising crime as the city’s most serious issue. That number is down from 40 percent in 2008.
Decision Resources surveyed 400 households. The firm asked residents a variety of questions about quality of life, their neighborhoods and their opinions of city services.
Eighty-five percent of residents rated their quality of life as excellent or good, compared to 65 percent four years ago.
“This quality-of-life result set the pace for the rest of the questionnaire,” Morris told the council.
When asked what they liked most about Brooklyn Center, residents most often said location.
“We are the best of both worlds. We are the suburbs, but we’re still close to the action of downtown Minneapolis” Schleuning said.
Residents can view a summary of survey results on the city’s website at www.cityofbrooklyncenter.org. A final report will be available in April.