Black Americans are less likely to say they feel safe while alone at night in their communities than other racial groups in the United States, according to newly released Gallup polling data.
The pollster found that only 60 percent of African Americans surveyed feel safe when walking alone at night in the city or area where they live. This is compared to 84 percent of Caucasian Americans, 77 percent Hispanic Americans, and 75 percent Asian Americans who say the same.
The latest results also show that African Americans are the only racial group in the United States to fall below the global average of 69 percent when people worldwide were polled about their sense of safety walking alone at night in 2018.
Gallup said this result helps explain the complex relationship the African American community has with law enforcement in their community. In the same poll, conducted between June 23 and July 6, the pollster found that 61 percent of African Americans surveyed want the amount of police presence in their area to remain the same, with 20 percent say they prefer more time, and 19 percent say they prefer less time.
The polling data also found that African Americans were also less likely to have positive interactions with the police at 59 percent.
“It is possible to both have less positive experiences with the police and desire a police presence for safety and security,” Gallup said.
Within the African Americans surveyed, the poll found that the experience between men and women was different. Seventy-one percent of African American men say they feel safe walking alone at night in their neighborhood as opposed to 51 percent of African American women who reported the same, the poll found.
A similar difference experienced by men and women in other racial groups was also observed in the results.
The results come at a time when tensions between the African American community and law enforcement have been highlighted following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died while in Minneapolis police custody in late May. Floyd’s death sparked national protests and riots calling for police reform and a change in criminal justice policy.
The “defund the police” movement emerged as part of the protests, calling for the reallocation of funds away from police departments to other social programs. The movement claims that police departments are systemically racist and that police funding can be better used elsewhere to help African American communities.
Gallup found that a majority of Americans say major changes are needed in policing in the United States, with 88 percent of African Americans who think major changes are needed, compared to 82 percent of Asian Americans, 63 percent of Hispanic Americans, and 51 percent of white Americans saying the same thing.