The Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA) released the results of its fifth Public Safety Survey. The online responses of 850 people — half of whom live and/or work in Downtown — reveal votes of confidence for DLBA’s Clean and Safe Teams, but also reflect some of the challenges facing Downtown.

The survey found that 70 percent would “likely/most likely” recommend a visit to Downtown to a friend or colleague. In addition, more than 83 percent indicated awareness of Clean and Safe team services, an all-time survey high, including pressure washing, removal of litter, debris and stickers/graffiti, and providing directions and information.

“The survey, which was open for 45 days in Spring of 2022, did show a declining perception of health and safety in Downtown,” said Morris Mills, DLBA’s Research and Public Policy Analyst. “For example,” Mills explained, “the share of survey respondents who felt ‘completely comfortable’ in Downtown between 7 AM and 2 PM dropped 22 percent since 2019 to 40 percent, though the completely/fairly comfortable categories combined was at 79 percent.”

“This year,” continued Mills, “32 percent of the 850 respondents felt cleanliness of sidewalks and public space had improved over the past year; Compare this to 40 percent in 2021 and 62 percent in 2019 (a Public Safety Survey was not conducted in Spring 2020 due to COVID-19). Open comments elaborated on the general frustration with homelessness and perceived lack of action from local and state agencies, and many commented on increases in theft, property damage, and erratic behavior due to mental illness or substance abuse.”

More key 2022 Public Safety Survey findings:

  • Respondent awareness of all DLBA services rose since 2019, with entrepreneurial grants and homeless services both rising nearly 20 percent to 54 percent and 65 percent, respectively.
  • 62 percent were aware of resources available to assist the unhoused, up 5 percent over 2021.

“Our Public Safety Survey reflects known challenges in our Downtown. It’s another opportunity to step up our community’s focus to address the needs of all stakeholders,” said DLBA Chief Operating Officer Broc Coward, who noted that the recent City Council and property owner votes to renew the Downtown Property Based Improvement District for another 10 years will enable DLBA to create even cleaner streets with greater frequency of pressure washing, make Downtown safer by adding more Safety Ambassadors, and further address the needs of unhoused individuals while reducing disruptive street behaviors with additional resources.

During a time of shifting tides for Downtown Long Beach, the information obtained from the Public Safety Survey helps DLBA concentrate its efforts to meet challenges head-on, and continually improve Downtown for the benefit of residents, business owners, investors, and visitors. As this work continues, DLBA will remain a transparent clearinghouse for information.