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Perceived Safety: Notes & Sources

Definitions

Confidence interval (also called "error bar") is the range of values that includes the true value 95% of the time. If the confidence intervals of two groups do not overlap, the difference between groups is statistically significant (meaning that chance or random variation is unlikely to explain the difference).   

King County regions: The geographic boundaries of the four King County sub-regions (North, Seattle, East, and South) are defined by the aggregation of ZIP codes.

Race/Ethnicity: Federal standards mandate that race and ethnicity (Hispanic origin) are distinct concepts requiring 2 separate questions when collecting data from an individual. "Hispanic origin" is meant to capture the heritage, nationality group, lineage, or country of birth of an individual (or his/her parents) before arriving in the United States. Persons of Hispanic ethnicity can be of any race. Communities Count's terms for racial/ethnic groups are derived from those used by the U.S Census Bureau in 2010.

  • Communities Count terms:  Hispanic, Non-Hispanic, White Non-Hispanic, Black, American Indian/Alaska Native (AIAN), Asian, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (NHPI), White, and Multiple Race (Multiple). Persons of Hispanic ethnicity can be of any race and are included in other racial categories. Racial/ethnic groups are sometimes combined when sample sizes are too small for valid statistical comparisons of more discrete groups. 
  • 2010 Census terms: Hispanic or Latino, Not Hispanic or Latino, White alone (Not Hispanic or Latino),  Black or African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, White, Some Other Race, and Two or More Races.

Notes

Perceived safety questions: In 2004, 2007, and 2011, King County adults were asked 6 questions about how often in the preceding 12 months they worried about the following specific safety threats:  

  • Children’s safety in their neighborhood
  • Children’s safety in school
  • Their own physical safety in their neighborhood
  • Their physical safety at home
  • Being robbed or having their house broken into
  • Being physically attacked by someone they don’t know

Response options were:  all of the time, most of the time, some of the time, a little of the time, and none of the time.  Responses were summed to create a perceived safety scale with a possible score between 6 (frequent worry: low perceived safety) and 30 (no worry: high perceived safety). 

Response averages, overall and by region:

The following table shows the percent of respondents in each region who said they worried about a particular safety threat ‘all of the time’ or ‘most of the time.’   Higher percentages indicate threats that worried more people.  For example, in 2011 only 4% of King County adults said they worried about being physically attacked by someone they did not know, while 13% said they worried about children’s safety in the neighborhood, and 10% worried about their children’s safety at school.

Statistical significance: Unless otherwise noted, any difference mentioned in the text is statistically significant (unlikely to have occurred by chance).

Data Sources

Communities Count Survey (2004, 2007, 2011):  Respondents came from a random sample of all King County households.  Due to the limitations of surveys that rely exclusively on landline telephones, Communities Count 2011 used a mixed-mode survey involving both random-digit-dial phone contact and address-based sampling for mailed questionnaires, with an internet response option as well. Phone interviews were conducted in English, Spanish, and, upon request, a few additional languages. Possible limitations of this kind of survey include: (a) people who do not have a telephone or a permanent address are missed; (b) people who do not speak English or Spanish may not participate; (c) people who have less education and lower incomes tend to be under-represented.

Perceived safety questions were adapted from questions from the East Side Village Healthy Worker Community Health Survey conducted at the University of Michican (A Schulz, E Parker, DB Israel, DT Fisher. Social context, stressors, and disparities in women’s health. J Am Med Womens Assoc. 2001 Fall; 56(4):143-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=social+context+stressors+disparities+schultz).

Other Sources

School District Health Profiles provide demographic and health information for several school districts in King County.  The profiles were developed by Public Health-Seattle and King County in collaboration with school districts for the purpose of informing school policy-makers and administrators, health and wellness planners, and the public about student health indicators at the district level. The data come from the Healthy Youth Survey, which is administered every 2 years to students in grades 6, 8, 10, and 12.  Each profile report has 6 sections: 

  • Demographics of survey respondents
  • Obesity, physical activity, and dietary behaviors
  • Mental health
  • Personal safety and violence
  • Alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use and second-hand smoke exposure
  • 3 additional indicators, selected by each district (examples: adults to turn to for help when feeling sad or hopeless; family skipped meals in past 12 months due to finances; bullied in the past 30 days because of face, ethnicity, or national origin) 

Maps of King County covering a wide range of topics can be accessed at http://www.kingcounty.gov/operations/GIS/Maps.aspx#PH.  Maps most immediately relevant to Communities Count are under the headings of Community data & demographics, Public health, and Environment & natural resources, but other maps should be useful as well (farmers markets, transit routes, walking and biking routes, parks, traffic counts, etc.).

Quotes:  Communities Count interviewed 32 King County parents or guardians raising at least one child younger than 6 years of age.  We reached out to communities of color, recent immigrants, and residents with limited English proficiency to achieve a broad range of racial, cultural, and socioeconomic diversity. We interviewed both families with very low household income and those who earned up to median income (about $68,000 for a family of four in 2010). Family structures included single-parent households, couples living in consensual unions, married couples, and extended families.