Baltimore residents are less satisfied with city services than they were last year, but see progress in the city's long-standing fight against violent crime and illegal drugs.

Those are some of the mixed findings in the annual Baltimore Citizen Survey, which the University of Baltimore's Schaefer Center for Public Policy completed in October and the Rawlings-Blake administration released Friday.


In a statement, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she's committed to improving Baltimore through "responsible budgeting and focusing on the top priorities of current city residents." Officials say they use the results of the survey to help determine which areas of city government most need funding, improvement and resources.

The results paint a complex picture of improvement in a city that has lost population for decades but gained 1,100 residents in the latest U.S. Census Bureau figures.

In the survey, residents reported that they were less pleased than a year before with the services provided by city government. The percentage of people who said they are not satisfied with city services rose from 33 percent to 37 percent. At the same time, the city Fire Department was widely seen as the best city service. Nearly 65 percent of residents rated the agency as good or excellent.

Residents reported that they were most concerned about violent crime, but less so than a year earlier. The impression that violent crime is a serious problem fell from 57 percent to 53 percent, while the perception that illegal drugs are a serious problem fell from 90 percent to 81 percent.

When asked about crime in central Baltimore — the site of many of the city's tourist attractions — nearly three-fourths of city residents said they feel safe in the downtown during the day. That number dropped to 35 percent at night.

Baltimoreans also reported that schools were a major concern. Nearly 30 percent of residents said they believed city schools were either good or excellent, while 31 percent said they were fair and 19 percent indicated that they were poor.

There were mixed feelings about the cleanliness of Baltimore. Fewer people said they believed their neighborhood was clean, down from 61 percent to 57 percent. But citizens generally believed trash pick-up was getting better: 57 percent rated trash removal as good or excellent, up from 50 percent.

City Hall implemented the survey in 2009, giving residents an opportunity to rate quality-of-life issues in Baltimore and their satisfaction with local government. The Schaefer Center for Public Policy, working with city government, conducted a telephone survey of 1,786 Baltimore residents who were at least 18 between April and June.

The margin of error was about 2 percent.