Survey: Pocatello conflicted on quality of Pocatello

6 Jan

Sure, Pocatello LOOKS clean, but try telling that to the people who took this survey. (Jamie Hale/The Bannock Alternative)

A survey of Pocatellans on their opinions of the city has been released! What does this shocking poll reveal about the residents of the Gate City? For starters, a lot of people are unhappy with the way things are going, but they’re pretty happy with the way things are. Sound confusing? Welcome to Pocatello.

I should add a quick disclaimer to this survey. Only 460 people actually filled the thing out, so it’s not REALLY a good measure of everybody’s opinion, but rather a small peek into what could be the opinion of the community. In other words, take this all with a grain of salt.

While 76 percent of the respondents said Pocatello was a “good” or “excellent” place to live, only 65 percent liked the quality of life, 50 percent liked the sense of community and about 45 percent liked the cleanliness and appearance of the city.

So what makes Pocatello so great then? It’s certainly not the shopping opportunities (40 percent said “good” or “excellent”) or the employment opportunities (another 40 percent approval). Just over half the respondents said they like the opportunities to attend social events and only 46 percent like the overall image of Pocatello.

The aspects of the city that got the best responses were recreational opportunities (63 percent approval), educational opportunities (64 percent approval) and quality of the natural environment (61 percent approval).

Since Pocatello is close to Pebble Creek and a ton of great hiking and mountain biking, the love of outdoors makes a lot of sense. But Pocatello has another reputation (whether it’s true or not) as a city with a lot of crime. So just how safe do people feel in town?

Well that’s a tough question to answer. Of the respondents, 69 percent feel safe from violent crimes while 66 percent feel safe from property crimes. About that same number, 72 percent, feel safe in their own neighborhood after dark, but a mere 27 percent of Pocatellans feel safe after dark in downtown Pocatello.

Generally, this kind of unease stems from people or their family and friends being the victims of some crimes downtown. “My husband was jumped just last week,” they might say. But only 15 percent of these very same people have been victims of crime in the last year. Furthermore, 68 percent said they think the local police do a good job. I’ll just go ahead and blame the media (us included).

Looking at this survey, it seems that Pocatellans have some kind of identity crisis. They feel safe, just not downtown, even though they’re never victims of crime. They love the city, just not really much about it.

Despite what the survey says, it’s best just to trust one another and be good and kind citizens. That’s something Pocatellans actually know a lot about. Despite only a 50 percent approval of the city’s sense of community, a whopping 82 percent of respondents said they provided help to a neighbor or a friend more than once or twice in the last year. If that doesn’t say a lot, I’m not sure what does.

There’s a lot more in the survey, so go make your own judgments. You can download the whole thing here.

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