One important way police can measure their own performance and also gauge citizen reaction to their activities is through community surveys and assessments. Understanding how citizens perceive the police and their activities as well as how those perceptions change over time is essential in fulfilling democratic policing and improving trust and confidence with the public.
Applying an evidence-based approach to surveying communities means to conduct surveys in ways in which the results are believable, generalizable and reflective of the targeted populations being surveyed. Surveys should also include questions that have been validated and also support evidence-based practices. In this demonstration, we offer examples of how agencies might carry out a scientifically sound survey, as well as provide links to other examples and resources.