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Poll Finds Most Santa Monica Residents Want More Police
 

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By Jorge Casuso

April 29, 2022 -- A monthly poll of "civically engaged" Santa Monica residents taken this week found that an overwhelming majority support increasing police funding to hire more officers.

The Santa Monica Pulse poll of some 160 residents also found that reducing homelessness and increasing police presence were top priorities, although most opposed a proposed ballot measure to fund "homelessness prevention."

Asked if "the City should increase funding for the SMDP to prioritize hiring more officers, 77 percent said yes, 15 percent said no and 8 percent said they were not sure.

The poll referenced a report in the Lookout that found the Santa Monica Police Department is facing a “record shortage of officers” ("SMPD Faces Record Shortage of Officers," April 19, 2022).

Of the 221 sworn officers approved in the current 2021-22 Fiscal Year budget, only 174 are working the streets, leaving the Department 47 officers short of its budgeted deployment, the report found.

The shortage is largely due to a surge in retirements and a dearth of new recruits over the past two years, and a large number of officers on medical leave.

The push poll -- taken via phone text between April 25 and 29 -- also asked respondents to pick the top priority for Councilmembers running in the November race for three open seats.

The top three priorities were fairly evenly divided, with about one-quarter of the respondents choosing increasing police presence, reducing homelessness and stopping overdevelopment, in that order.

Only 5 percent of the respondents chose constructing affordable housing, while 24 percent chose "something else" and wrote in their answer.

"Concerns over public safety and homelessness were common responses for those who wrote in an answer," according to Eyes on 11, the hotel union watchdog that conducts the poll.

"Many also said they wanted to see 'all of the above' dealt with."

The poll also asked residents to weigh in on Mayor Sue Himmelrich's proposed ballot measure to "increase the property transfer tax on certain real estate transactions to help fund 'homelessness prevention,' among other goals."

"The measure would greatly expand the city’s ability to repurpose existing buildings or construct new buildings for the purpose of affordable housing throughout Santa Monica," the poll said.

"The measure provides minimal independent oversight on how the money
is spent and little ability for most residents to offer input on the location of the housing. Do you support or oppose this ballot measure?"

Seventy-six percent said they opposed the measure, 11 percent support it and 13 percent said they were not sure and need more information.

The proposed tax measure -- which also would help fund the local School District -- would charge a real estate transfer tax of $53 per $1,000 on properties valued at $8 million or more, primarily apartments and commercial properties.

If successful, the “Funding for Homelessness Prevention, Affordable Housing, and Schools” ballot measure is expected to generate $50 million a year ("Mayor Launches Campaign to Hike "Luxury" Real Estate Tax," March 31, 2022).

As with previous polls, the latest Santa Monica Pulse poll was sent to nearly 1,000 residents who "previously opted in to receive more information on education efforts surrounding crime and safety in their city." It had a 16 percent response rate.

Those who wish to be included in the next poll should email their name and cell phone number to SaMoPulse@gmail.com. To view the poll results click here


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