Orange County has launched a 19-question online survey that asks residents to provide their zip code and answer a number of questions.
Those questions include rating the level of gun violence in their community, sharing how safe they feel, and offering up opinions on how to prevent and reduce violence.
The county asked residents to complete a similar crime prevention survey in 2021. At the time 1,044 participants indicated they wanted to increase prevention and 1,203 wanted to expand mentoring to prevent crime and reduce gun violence in the community.
County leaders say those responses fueled nearly $14.3 million in investments in local nonprofit organizations over a three-year period.
Mayor Jerry Demings says the results of the new community crime survey will help the county set policy and make funding decisions moving forward.
“This isn’t free money that we’re just giving out. We want results to be produced,” said Demings.
The mayor says the survey will also help guide the recently reconvened citizen safety task force. It’s charged with re-examining its 2021 recommendations.
That task force will next meet at Barnett Park on April 18th at 10 am. Mayor Demings says filling out the survey is a way to make your voice heard if you can’t make task force meetings.
“The task force recommendations are going to only be as good as the input that they received from the citizens,” said Demings.
Pastor Rollie Murray is the Senior Pastor at the Bethel Missionary Baptist Church in Parramore.
For him and some others who worship at the church, gun violence has hit close to home.
“Very personally it has touched me through the loss of our oldest son,” said Murray.
Murray’s son Richard Lee Bailey the 2nd was shot and killed on his 49th birthday back in January of 2020.
Murray says county efforts to invest in youth and violence prevention are worthwhile. But as the county works to address gun violence, Murray says more action needs to come on the federal and state level.
He also feels it’s important for those directly impacted by gun violence to have a seat at the decision-making table.
“When people are more involved, then they are more willing to work toward the solutions to the problems,” said Murray.
Murray says he plans on completing the survey and will ask his congregation to do the same.
“It has to be a unified effort between the home, the county, and the church, the school system. We all have to work together as a unit,” said Murray.
Results from the 2021 Community Crime Survey are available HERE.
You can find the link to the 2023 crime prevention survey HERE.