Public Safety -- Challenges and Opportunities

Feeling safe and secure within our homes, communities and cities is a basic human desire. It is a key determinant in the perception of the quality of life of a community. As communities grow, the needs for safe social and physical environments where people are able to participate fully in their communities without fear of incident becomes an increasing challenge.

Crime affects all members of a community. If crime rates increase, a community’s overall sense of security and perception of safety will diminish. High levels of crime lower property values, discourage commercial investment, reduce competition, erode employment opportunities, shrink customer bases and ultimately can depress a city’s economy. Therefore, perceived safety and actual crime rates are crucial components in the overall welfare of a community.  

Specific indicators in this section include:

  • Personal Crime Incidents
  • Property Crime Incidents

Today

Crime statistics assessing current conditions have been gathered through Benchmark City Survey, Direction Finders Survey and three national crime data bases to help provide a general snapshot of community safety. For consistency Olathe uses the same definitions and standards established by the Kansas Incident Based Reporting System (KIBRS) and the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) system and the agreed up parameters established by Benchmark City for the reporting of
all crime data.

Overall, Olathe maintains a high degree of public safety. When compared to other Benchmark Cities violent Part I crime incidents are lower at 2.6 per 1,000 people, as compared to an average of 3.0 per 1,000 people.  As for Part I property crimes, Olathe scores rather low in comparison to the average of the other surveyed communities in Benchmark City.  Olathe reports 22.0 property crimes per 1,000 people, while the survey average is higher at 33.7 per 1,000 people.

Citizen’s responses to the 2008 Direction Finder survey revealed a high level of satisfaction with various aspects of public safety in Olathe.  Approximately 92% of residents are satisfied with the local fire, police, and ambulances services. Olathe residents feel generally safe in their community; 97% say they feel safe in their neighborhoods during the day, and 86% feel safe in their neighborhoods during the night.

None of these results can be taken for granted as it takes little upward movement in crime trends, rates or response times to influence the public perception of safety. Public Safety is the responsibility of all branches of government. It will take constant attention to details, analysis of crime trends and services provided, along with interaction and feed back from citizens to ensure the common goals of preventing, reducing and solving crime is met. Thus fulfilling the public’s expectation
for a strong sense of security and safety.

In the Future

Crime statistics can help provide some quantifiable measure regarding police performance in the future; however, they are only one portion of the overall story. Principles and policies are contained within PlanOlathe that support the community’s commitment to maintain an adequate level of police protection, and promote community design principles that maximize public safety.