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County Survey Show Rise of Crime and Inflation as Key Concerns, Overtaking COVID

April 13, 2022

A survey of 514 Anne Arundel County residents conducted from March 18 to April 1 by Anne Arundel Community College Center for the Study of Local Issues found that compared to last spring, residents no longer viewed COVID-19 as the “most important problem facing the residents of Anne Arundel County” dropping from 35% to only 14%.

The percentage saying “crime” doubled from 13% to 26%, with “drugs” rising from 9% to 20%. Other items identified as being very important included education (20%), the economy (19%), growth/overpopulation (17%), the cost of housing (16%), taxes (17%) and transportation 15%). Until this survey, the focus on COVID-19 had overwhelmed other categories, but as concern with the virus has declined, other issues have risen to grab the public’s attention.

This change in focus corresponded to a rise in the percentage of people who said that the situation with the virus was “getting better” increasing from 49% to 78%. The percentage who thought that the pandemic was “already not much of a problem” rose from 19% to 33%; the percentage believing that the pandemic would be over in more than one year declined from 40% to just 24%.

At the same time, the percentage of people saying that they had contracted the disease doubled over the last six months – from15% to 37% while the percentage of those who personally know someone who has died from COVID-19 rose from 28% to 40%. There were strong signs that the public was very concerned with economic conditions, especially inflation. A majority (58%) said they were “very concerned” with inflation compared to only 22% similarly concerned with unemployment. People were likely to blame “supply chain problems (42% “extremely important”) and “excessive corporate profits” as causes of inflation. Among those seeking to purchase a house in the last year, a majority (51%) said that supply was very limited and prices were very high. Two-thirds agreed that “wages or salaries are not rising as fast as the cost of living.” When asked how Anne Arundel County government had dealt with some issues, 56% said that “making life more affordable in the county” had “gotten worse” over the last few years compared to only 4% who said that it had gotten better.

When looking at crime, only 3% percent said that the situation had gotten better; 59% said that it had gotten worse – that was the top issue among all those considered. When asked how satisfied residents were with public facilities, 26% said “very satisfied” for “public safety” which was lower than trash collection, public water and sewer and parks and recreation.

The survey covered a range of other issues. Several dealt with population growth, land use and additional residential and commercial development. There was a section on the county’s ability to positively affect a range of budget and non-budget issues. Some state and local topics that were broached include the Anne Arundel County Board of Education’s proposed budget, state legislation dealing with climate change and pollution, and the effectiveness of a police accountability board. Some international topics are covered such as the threat to peace posed by Russia and support for economic sanctions against that country. Election “horse race” questions were asked about the county executive and gubernatorial elections.

The survey polled a random sample of 514 county residents who were at least 18 years old. Interviewing was conducted online primarily using a database of members of the AACC/CSLI web panel who have been recruited when conducting previous telephone interviews. The survey was in the field from March 18 to April 1. There was about a 4.3% statistical margin of error; the error rate was higher for subgroups such as “Democrats” or “men.” The dataset was weighted by gender, political party, age, race, council district and education to better represent the general population. Students participated in the selection of topics and analysis of results.

For a detailed review of survey findings or for information, contact Dan Nataf, Ph.D. at 410-777-2733 (office) or 443-906-0153 (cell - preferred) and

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Angie Hamlet
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