Valley cities among those where residents feel least safe

FRESNO, Calif.

The poll puts Fresno tenth on a list of cities where residents don't feel safe walking alone in their communities.

Residents in the Tower District said they're not surprised that Fresno fell in the top ten metropolitan areas. About a year and a half ago, the area launched a neighborhood watch patrol after it saw a spike in crime.

"Fresno's a rough town and it's a good idea to be cautious," said Tower District resident Bob Rogers.

Rogers has lived in the Tower District for nearly 30 years. He's not surprised by the poll that shows 57.2 % of Fresno's residents don't feel safe walking alone at night.

"I've had a friend who was accosted, I've had a friend who had a Molotov cocktail thrown in his backyard," Rogers added. "There are certain times I wouldn't feel comfortable walking through the neighborhood."

This is why he and his neighbors started a neighborhood watch patrol in late 2012. The residents act as a police auxiliary, travelling in teams with a radio and keeping an eye on vacant buildings and unusual behavior.

"We're trying to build a grass roots movement where most people in the Tower are involved because neighborhood watch is a lifestyle, you're just always aware, always be communicating and be a good neighbor," said Rogers.

While police appreciate the help Chief Jerry Dyer insists overall crime is down.

"It's ironic in violent crimes since 2001 have been down 37 percent in our city so it continues to fall. In fact, in the last three years, violent crime has decreased by four percent, six percent, seven percent and this year it's down 14 percent compared to last year," said Dyer.

He's floored Fresno made the top ten cities.

"I'm surprised Fresno's on this list and Oakland is not," Dyer said. "I feel Fresno is a very safe place, we've made great strides in reducing crime in our city and we're going to continue to do so."

Dyer believes the poll has more to do with the perception of crime rather than the actual crime rates.

The results are based on the telephone interviews of more than 530,000 people in 2012 and 2013.

Stockton was third on the list with 52.2 percent of people reporting they feel safe and Modesto was fourth with 54.2 percent.

San Luis Obispo was the only California City to make it into the top ten "safe" cities with 80.4 percent of residents saying they feel safe walking alone at night.

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