Community Indicators: Resident Safety

Family walking around Capitol Lake with Dome in background

Measuring Our Progress with Community Indicators

Community Indicators are a way for us to track and share progress on our community's vision within each of our five focus areas. Data for the indicators may be impacted by City initiatives or actions, but are also influenced by the broader community.

For each indicator, the gauge highlights progress toward our goal, and areas to learn more or focus more attention. Right now, the goals are general (ex. increase). Over time we expect to identify more specific targets, where appropriate.

You can explore each of the indicators by focus area below, or view them all at-a-glance on our Community Indicators Dashboard (PDF).

Two teens showing of vegetables in community garden

Community Safety & Health Indicators

How safe do residents feel in Olympia?

2017 2018 Goal rating
92% reported feeling generally safe 92% reported feeling generally safe
(2017)
Increase Yellow

No additional information


Man waving out of window in Downtown

Downtown Indicators

Citizens rating Downtown as safe (%)

2017 2018 Goal rating
Daytime: 78%
Nighttime: 39%
Daytime: 78%
Nighttime: 39%
(2017 data)
Increase Red

Downtown Olympia is an economic and social hub in our community. The City has and will continue to invest in the Downtown to encourage market-rate housing, new specialty stores and boutiques, and to attract visitors to places such as Percival Landing, the Hands on Children’s Museum, and our many theatre and art venues. Visitors to Downtown experiencing a clean and safe environment Downtown are more likely to continue working, living, and playing Downtown.

Visitors views on safety revolve around their experiences Downtown, including the presence of law enforcement, waste bins that are not overflowing, clean, accessible walking routes, proper illumination, lack of graffiti, and a sense that there is a place for everyone.

  • In the fall of 2017, voters approved a new Public Safety levy that will provide additional walking patrol officers Downtown, a new mobile mental health outreach unit, and new Code Enforcement resources. Our Waste ReSources utility recently launched a new Downtown shared compactor to help businesses with better options for waste disposal.
  • The City employs two Downtown Ambassadors to assist visitors in finding shops and services, as well as a Clean Team that aids in graffiti removal, trash pick up, and assistance to business owners who need it.
  • In 2017, the City partnered with Providence in launching a Downtown Community Care Center to help connect houseless individuals with direct services.
  • In the Spring of 2018, the City has placed a Housing Levy on the ballot with the goal of providing affordable housing and resources to the most vulnerable in our community.
  • Through input provided from the Downtown Strategy, the City is planning future infrastructure upgrades to improve driving, walking, and biking Downtown.

All of these efforts are aimed at helping to provide a Downtown that is safe and welcoming for all.

Data for this measure is obtained through a community survey that is conducted every two years.


Man shopping for produce at Olympia farmers Market

Economy Indicators

Condition of City infrastructure

2017 2018 Goal rating
B-minus B-minus Increase Yellow

Maintaining Olympia's infrastructure in good condition is vital to the health, safety and economic vitality of the community. Our community relies upon our infrastructure for the safe and efficient movement of people and goods, safe and reliable drinking water and the protection of public health, property and the environment.

The condition of City infrastructure is influenced by age, expected life, level of maintenance, degree of use and many other factors. The level of financial investment in maintenance, rehabilitation and replacement of aging infrastructure is critical.

The City's goal is to maximize the life of our infrastructure at the lowest cost while meeting our citizen's expectations for service. We do this by:

  • Maintaining an inventory of all City infrastructure
  • Regularly rating the condition of all infrastructure
  • Implementing efficient preventative maintenance programs
  • Implementing rehabilitation projects to extend the life of assets
  • Replacing infrastructure at the end of its useful life
  • Continually looking for lower cost, innovative solutions

Despite our best efforts, some areas do not have sufficient funding to maintain the amount of assets we currently have. The most notable areas are in street maintenance (overall rating of C-plus, or "fair"), bridge maintenance (overall rating of C-plus, or "fair") and building repair (overall rating of B with much lower ratings in older buildings). In response, the City continues to explore revenue options, further efficiencies where feasible and pursuit of grant funding.

Continued decline in the condition of these assets will result in more costly repairs in the future.

Each category of infrastructure is inspected, rated and scored on a regular basis. The rating is converted to a letter grade, A - F (A=excellent, B=good, C=fair, D=poor, F=unacceptable). The overall grade is an average across all infrastructure categories.


Two children holding trees in planters in Priest Point Park

Environment Indicators

City-owned sites with contaminated soil cleaned up (%)

2017 2018 Goal rating
22% 20% Increase Yellow

We measure and report on this indicator because properties with contaminated soil or groundwater can harm human health and the environment. Soil or groundwater on previously-used properties may be contaminated by oil or gas products, chemicals, or other contaminants that leaked or were disposed of improperly by previous property owners, businesses or residents.

These contaminants can remain present in the soil for many years, or move through the soil in groundwater - sometimes reaching streams or Puget Sound - affecting the health of humans, fish, plants and wildlife.

The process of cleaning up historically-contaminated sites is governed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and WA Dept of Ecology. Federal and state laws and rules set standards for cleanup of each type of contaminant. Previous property owners responsible for contamination can be liable for the cost of cleanup, which can be very expensive. Site cleanup can involve years of work to identify and clean up contaminants.

The City of Olympia owns ten sites with known soil or groundwater contaminants from previous uses of those properties, or nearby properties whose contaminants flowed under the City-owned sites in groundwater. Two of those sites - Olympia City Hall and the Hands-On Children's Museum - have been certified by Ecology as cleaned up to required standards.

The City has completed assessments of historic documents and some on-site exploration to assess the contamination on seven of the City's remaining eight contaminated sites. The seventh site, the City's Maintenance Center, is scheduled for an assessment in 2019. Portions of three of the City's seven assessed sites have been cleaned up.Additional funds are being sought to clean up the remaining portions of those sites.

The City's Downtown Strategy recommends collaborating with private property owners to seek grants for cleanup of downtown properties. The City has a consultant that performs detailed research to identify previous property owners that may be responsible for past contamination. When evidence clearly identifies their responsibility, that party pays for cleanup costs. The City will be seeking grants in 2019 to help complete additional assessments.

We measure the percentage of City-owned sites that have been fully cleaned up per required standards. The City also works with owners of contaminated properties to clean up those properties through the land use and building permit process. However, information is not available to identify all properties in Olympia that may be contaminated.


Man and three children biking on neighborhood path

Neighborhoods Indicators

Amount of City located within 1/2 mile of a park or open space (%)

2017 2018 Goal rating
60.3% 61.88% Increase Yellow

This indicator highlights the importance of easily accessible green spaces and the community and environmental benefits they provide. Having a park or open space within a short distance from one's home provides a convenient place to exercise, to take the kids to play, to walk the dog or to experience a bit of nature within the city. It gives people an opportunity to visit their local park or open space without having to drive. Parks and open spaces serve as community gathering places, as well as contribute to a neighborhood's character and sense of place.

This indicator is primarily influenced by the number and location of parks and open spaces within Olympia's inventory. It is also influenced by the location of park access points in relation to the City's street network. Both of these influences are factors the Olympia Parks, Arts and Recreation Department incorporates into its long-range planning and acquisition strategy.

The 2016 Parks, Arts and Recreation Plan calls for the acquisition of ten new combination neighborhood parks/open spaces. The plan calls for a total of 417 acres of land acquisition. Five acquisitions totaling 343 acres are planned for by 2021.

The City is also exploring creating new park access points in cases where this will make the park walking-distance to substantially more residences.

Utilizing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) mapping software, we annually map our park system to determine what percentage of the City is located within 1/2 mile of a park or open space. Each year, through acquisitions and development of new park access points, we strive to increase the percentage of the City that is within a 1/2 mile.