Public Safety Study

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View of Missoula County Community Justice Department brick building on summer day

View the final report from the public safety study.

The Missoula County Community Justice Department’s first public safety survey closed on Oct. 7, 2022, and a follow up one closed in July 2023. Thanks to everyone who responded! Many other counties across the nation are participating in this study, and Missoula came out with one of the highest response rates of the first survey.

The County has worked with researchers to ask over 1,500 residents in Missoula County and two other counties (Mecklenburg, NC and St. Louis, MO) what it means for a community to be safe. These responses have been narrowed to 120 statements that touch on things like low rates of violent crime, access to affordable housing, and the ability to move through the day without fear of being harmed.

This information was then used to create a map to define and measure community safety, which can be used to set priorities, guide action and assess change. View it under "documents" on the right-hand side.

Then, we performed a second survey called the "Redefining Community Safety" survey, which closed on July 31.

Staff compiled a draft report of this study and met with a local board of stakeholders, received their feedback, and are currently answering follow-up questions. The final report is now available in the "documents" section on the right-hand side.

If you have any questions, please contact Lee Slocum at slocuml@umsl.edu

This project is funded by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety & Justice Challenge Research Consortium. The Safety & Justice Challenge is a national initiative to safely reduce jail populations. The Safety & Justice Challenge examines the efficiency of justice system processes and offers pretrial and reentry programming and services based on local data and evidence-based screening methods. Missoula County is one of the 57 cities, counties and states participating in the consortium network. Since 2017, the county has received $1.4 million in grant funds from the MacArthur Foundation to reduce the jail population and recidivism. Learn more about the jail diversion efforts online.

View of Missoula County Community Justice Department brick building on summer day

View the final report from the public safety study.

The Missoula County Community Justice Department’s first public safety survey closed on Oct. 7, 2022, and a follow up one closed in July 2023. Thanks to everyone who responded! Many other counties across the nation are participating in this study, and Missoula came out with one of the highest response rates of the first survey.

The County has worked with researchers to ask over 1,500 residents in Missoula County and two other counties (Mecklenburg, NC and St. Louis, MO) what it means for a community to be safe. These responses have been narrowed to 120 statements that touch on things like low rates of violent crime, access to affordable housing, and the ability to move through the day without fear of being harmed.

This information was then used to create a map to define and measure community safety, which can be used to set priorities, guide action and assess change. View it under "documents" on the right-hand side.

Then, we performed a second survey called the "Redefining Community Safety" survey, which closed on July 31.

Staff compiled a draft report of this study and met with a local board of stakeholders, received their feedback, and are currently answering follow-up questions. The final report is now available in the "documents" section on the right-hand side.

If you have any questions, please contact Lee Slocum at slocuml@umsl.edu

This project is funded by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety & Justice Challenge Research Consortium. The Safety & Justice Challenge is a national initiative to safely reduce jail populations. The Safety & Justice Challenge examines the efficiency of justice system processes and offers pretrial and reentry programming and services based on local data and evidence-based screening methods. Missoula County is one of the 57 cities, counties and states participating in the consortium network. Since 2017, the county has received $1.4 million in grant funds from the MacArthur Foundation to reduce the jail population and recidivism. Learn more about the jail diversion efforts online.

  • Redefining Community Safety Survey

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    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

    This survey contained questions about community safety priorities, as well as questions about demographics and prior experiences. Responses will be used to develop new ways to define and measure public safety that reflects the voices of a broad range of individuals living or working in Missoula County. The survey closed Saturday, July 15. A report will follow, likely in October, so stay tuned for future engagement opportunities!



  • Public Safety Survey

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    CLOSED: This survey is now closed.

    This survey is now closed.

    The Missoula County Community Justice Department sought public input in October for a survey about public safety. The department will use responses to the survey to inform new definitions and measurements of public safety in Missoula County. People 18 or older who live or work in Missoula County were invited to participate in the study by taking a five-minute survey. The survey closed Friday, Oct. 7.


    In addition to Missoula County, researchers at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, worked with Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, and St. Louis County, Missouri, to conduct the study. Researchers will use the study to help develop and sustain innovative methods to make communities across the country safer.

    The survey had three goals:

    • Identify and describe local trends in public safety

    • Document current understandings of safety and identify what crimes are causing the biggest disruptions locally

    • Gather information from a broad range of stakeholders to develop an inclusive and community-driven definition and measurements of public safety

    This project is funded by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s Safety & Justice Challenge Research Consortium. The Safety & Justice Challenge is a national initiative to safely reduce jail populations. The Safety & Justice Challenge examines the efficiency of justice system processes and offers pretrial and reentry programming and services based on local data and evidence-based screening methods. Missoula County is one of the 57 cities, counties and states participating in the consortium network. Since 2017, the county has received $1.4 million in grant funds from the MacArthur Foundation to reduce the jail population and recidivism. Learn more about the jail diversion efforts online.

    If you have been involved in the criminal justice system at some point in your life and you wish to stay involved in this study, please contact Safety and Justice Challenge Coordinator Chelsea Wittmann at cwittmann@missoulacounty.us or 406-258-3838. The Community Justice Department is seeking individuals who have been involved in the criminal justice system to help with the next step of this study, and you may be compensated for your help.

    And for all others, stay tuned! The Community Justice Department will issue a second survey for this study that we will need your input on. Afterwards, the Community Justice Department will publish a report of the findings from this study.

Page last updated: 04 Dec 2023, 11:54 AM