ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico - Nearly 60 percent of residents rate Albuquerque's quality of life as excellent or good, according to the City of Albuquerque's 2020 Citizen Satisfaction Survey, released on Friday.
The survey also shows broad support for Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller administration's response to COVID-19, as well as initiatives to address homelessness and reform the City's approach to policing with the launch of a new Community Safety Department.
The annual survey, mandated by City Council, measures the views of Albuquerque residents on important issues facing the community. With the onset of the pandemic in 2020, the survey was split into two parts so that early returns could help City leaders better address urgent needs faced by the community. Part one was conducted over the summer and showed strong support for the Albuquerque Police Department's crime-fighting initiatives, a proactive City response to COVID-19, and the City's work to address equity and inclusion. Part two addressed a wider variety of topics related to general quality of life.
"When the pandemic hit we moved quickly to put Albuquerque's trademark resilience to work, to step up for everyone in our community, keep the bottom from falling out of the economy, and bring hometown solutions to these tough times," Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said Friday. "It's reassuring that our city is united in our optimism for the future and that our focus is where it should be-on priorities that matter most to Albuquerque's hard-working families."
Despite being conducted during a state-mandated shutdown, the survey, administered by Research and Polling, Inc., showed strong marks for leadership in response to COVID-19. Over half of respondents felt the City has handled the pandemic well, with 61 percent agreeing that the City has communicated well with the public during the crisis. Sixty percent also felt that Albuquerque has done a good job keeping City services running amid the outbreak. Another measure took a big jump as now 48 percent of residents feel City government is responsive, compared to 28 percent in 2018.
Brian Sanderoff, President of Research and Polling, Inc., said the recent survey revealed "a big jump in the percentage of Albuquerque residents who feel that city government is responsive to community needs. The results also show strong approval for how city government has responded to the pandemic and its communications with the public."
Safety and crime remain the top concern for residents and the City alike. Keller's administration has reimagined policing with the creation of a Community Safety Department-an initiative that 75 percent of residents surveyed thought was a good idea. This new cabinet-level department will send trained professionals to non-violent calls related to mental health, homelessness and addiction so police officers can stay focused on violent crime.
When it comes to the city's police department itself, the number of residents who gave the department positive reviews has improved over the last three years. Levels of trust in police officers, reforms at the department and protecting resident's constitutional rights are all trending upward. Interestingly, there has been little change in whether residents perceive different types of crime as going up, down or staying the same, even as crime trends continue to improve. At the same time, an increasing majority of respondents state that they feel safe in their neighborhoods both during the day and at night.
Homelessness is another pressing challenge for all cities. The survey showed a significant 16 percent improvement in the number of residents who feel Albuquerque is doing a good job addressing homelessness. However, the findings reveal just how pessimistic many have felt about this problem for years, as homelessness continues to grow across the nation, and awareness of homelessness initiatives remains low.
As residents look forward to the end of the pandemic, a proposed multi-purpose sports arena that would be utilized by New Mexico United received overwhelming support from the public. 63 percent of residents say they support building a new multi-purpose arena that could be used not only for New Mexico United soccer games, but also for other events.
The latest edition of the survey of randomly selected residents was conducted by the independent firm Research & Polling Inc., and can be viewed at this link. The poll of 300 residents was in the field, from Nov. 16-21, 2020.