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Background: The Somerset neighborhood of Kensington, Philadelphia is affected by economic, environmental, and social issues that come with disinvestment. The average median income for Somerset is $26,015 per year which is much lower than Philadelphia’s city-wide income of $36, 957. This study evaluated the connection between perceptions of safety and perceived stress among residents of the Somerset neighborhood.

Methods: This study was a secondary data analysis from a cross-sectional study in the Somerset neighborhood. The data included self-reported surveys from Somerset residents that were completed at their homes. The surveys were completed using an electronic (tablet) format which took approximately 20 to 30 minutes to complete. Trained members of the neighborhood collected the data from July to December 2017. We used SPSS to quantify relationships between perceptions of safety and perceived stress using Spearman’s Rank Order Correlation for each of our 12 perceptions of safety variables and stress. Our final model was created using a multivariable linear regression model.

Results: We had 328 adults with an average age of 48 years old in our study sample. We found that most of the residents were female, 35.3% were Latino, predominantly single, and mainly employed full-time. Additionally, over half of the residents owned their home and 16 years was the average amount of time lived in the neighborhood. We found that the average score on the stress scale was a 5.18 (range 0-16). In our final model, we found 4 variables to be statistically significant (α= .10) age, years lived in the community, police should spend more time working with community members and groups to solve problems, and members of my community are interested in crime prevention activities.

Discussion: Overall, the mean stress levels were lower than we expected. We found associations between demographics and perceptions of safety variables specifically, as age increased, stress decreased and as the years lived in the community increased, stress increased. Our results also indicated as police spent more time working with community members and as crime prevention activities increased in the community, stress decreased. The strongest predictor of stress was the variable: “police should spend more time working with community members and groups to solve problems.” Collaborations between police officers and community members have the potential to improve health and may also help residents feel safer and less stressed in the neighborhood.