Posts tagged “public safety

Citizen survey provides valuable insight to city leaders

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

When I was a kid, I adored sports statistics. Batting averages, shooting percentages, passing efficiency – you name it, I ate it up.  I never dreamed I would someday be just as enamored by the vast array of statistical data in your average citizen survey.

National Service Research conducted the City of College Station’s survey in April, and we presented the 71-page summary report to the city council Thursday night. About 950 pages of the raw survey data sit on my desk.

What kind of stat nerd would spend hours of his life pouring over this stuff? Yep, this guy.

And despite what you might think, some of the numbers are pretty interesting, especially when compared to the rest of Texas.

In sports, a .325 batting average may be impressive, but what if the player only ranks 50th in the league? What if he hits .300 but ranks 8th? We compare sports statistics to give context to how athletes perform. Cities do the same thing with citizen surveys to achieve a similar context.

We had an outstanding response with 1,236 residents participating. All surveys and polls have flaws, but with a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percent, we’re confident the results of this survey fairly reflect the views of our population.

We conduct these surveys periodically as part of the city council’s strategic plan, so we’re able to measure and compare our performance over time. Before this year, our most recent surveys were in 2016 and 2012.

The 2019 survey also compares us to Texas cities that have conducted similar surveys in the last two years. We stacked up well against our peer cities in the state (those within 60,000 of our population of 122,000) and Texas cities overall.

What did the survey show?

On the affirmative side, about 8 of 10 residents rate the overall quality of city services and our water, wastewater and electric services as good or excellent. We’re also pleased that 85 percent give the city’s customer service a positive rating.

In addition, about 9 out of 10 respondents rated our community and their neighborhood as an excellent or good place to live and raise a family. That same portion would recommend College Station as a place to live.

The problem areas are what you’d expect, led by traffic congestion. Only 24 percent gave us an excellent or good rating for that, but the benchmarks show traffic being a problem everywhere in Texas, which reflects the rapid population growth in our state.

Of course, our police and fire services again rate highly with the public. Since 2016, we’ve had a nine-point increase in the percentage who feel safe in their neighborhoods, despite an 11-point rise in those who feel crime is increasing.

The five most important community characteristics to residents were the ease of car travel around town, the availability of medical and health care facilities, the availability of quality affordable housing, the overall appearance of the community, and job opportunities.

The survey is simply one of many tools that city management and the city council use to provide a high level of service to our residents. While it’s apparent that College Station stacks up well across the board, we also recognize we have many areas that need improvement — and that’s even more valuable to us than the positive ratings.

Check out the complete survey results when you have a chance and let us know what you think.

2019 Citizen Survey Results

As the survey illustrates, your opinion is always important.

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


 

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Holiday Safety: Be careful when shopping — even online

This is the first post of a series about keeping your family and property safe this holiday season.

By Lt. Craig Anderson, CSPD Public Information Officer

When Christmas shopping, you usually find yourself among enormous crowds at retail shops, malls, and grocery stores. These sizable gatherings also provide a perfect cover for those who are a little short on Christmas spirit — thieves.

If you shop online, you are equally susceptible to being targeted.

Don’t let the bad guys spoil your holiday season. By following these 10 simple tips, you reduce your chances of becoming a victim:

  1. Keep careful track of your bags and other packages. If you leave something behind, it could be stolen or discarded.
  2. Tell a security guard or store employee if you see an unattended bag or package. The same applies when taking mass transit: report any unattended packages to security or staff.
  3. Be sure not to buy more than you can carry. If your packages are making it hard for you to walk upright or see, ask a store employee to help you take them to your car.
  4. Check receipts to see whether your full credit card number appears. If a receipt has the entire number on it, take a pen and thoroughly scratch it out.
  5. Double check that you have your credit cards and checkbook after you pay for your items.
  6. Before surfing the Internet, secure your personal computers by updating your security software. Your computer should have anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-spam software, as well as a good firewall installed. Visit bytecrime.org for free software downloads.
  7. Keep your personal information and passwords private and secure. Don’t respond to requests to verify your password or credit card information unless you initiated the contact. Legitimate businesses won’t contact you in this manner.
  8. Beware of bargains from unfamiliar online companies. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  9. Use secure websites for purchases. Look for the locked padlock icon or “https” in the URL address.
  10. Shop online companies you know and trust. Check for background information if you plan to buy from a new or unfamiliar company.

Safe Exchange Zone

If you purchase an item through a website such as Craig’s List and need to exchange property in person with a stranger, we encourage you to use the designated exchange zone in the police department’s main parking lot at  2611 South Texas Ave. We record video of the area 24 hours a day.

Let’s work together to keep College Station a safe place to live, work and play by taking away opportunities for crime. The College Station Police Department wishes you a safe and joyous holiday season.

 


About the Blogger

Lt. Craig Anderson is in his 30th year with the College Station Police Department.


 

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Proposed FY16 Budget presented to city council

budget

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

It’s no secret that College Station is one of the country’s fastest growing small cities. Our population has increased about 36 percent in the last decade.

Over 103,000 people now call College Station home — and more are on the way. Conservative estimates say we could add another 40,000 residents in the next 10 years, with the student populations at Texas A&M and Blinn College continuing to expand.

With that rapid growth comes a demand for adequate infrastructure and core services related to public safety and parks.

City staff has spent months studying the city’s immediate and long-range needs while consulting with residents and other stakeholder groups. The result is what we consider a responsible FY2016 budget that will help us keep pace with our growth and meet the increased demand for city services we expect in the coming years.

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Spike in drug-related overdoses leads to advisory

By Lt. Chuck Fleeger, CSPD Public Information Officer

Copyright: bialasiewicz / 123RF Stock PhotoLocal law enforcement agencies, emergency medical service providers and local medical facilities have seen an influx of patients this week suffering from drug-related overdoses. This has resulted in the hospitalization of several individuals and may be related to at least one death.

Since Wednesday evening, about two dozen local cases have been reported that we believe involve the ingestion of illegal synthetic cannabinoids. These substances are commonly referred to as K2, Spice, Kush, synthetic marijuana and other terms. The exact compound being ingested can vary widely in potency and actual chemical makeup.

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Handy tips for successfully navigating freezing weather

weather

With freezing weather hitting town later today, we wanted to remind you of some of the problems freezing weather typically causes in our area. Previous cold spells we’ve had this winter caused significant damage to irrigation systems and exposed pipes, as well as power outages. In addition, runoff from sprinkler systems that hadn’t been turned off caused black ice in some areas and created hazardous driving conditions.

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An Inside Look at CSFD’s Fire Station No. 6

With as many as 40,000 new residents expected in the next two decades, College Station has a clear need to provide reliable fire and Emergency Medical Services protection to our growing community, and fulfilling that mission requires proactive planning and action. When it opens in late 2012, Fire Station No. 6 will provide responsible service and have a positive impact on citizens in north College Station for the next 50 years and beyond.

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