Despite a 7.5 per cent drop in the overall crime rate in Ottawa last year, nearly half the people in the city believe crime is getting worse.

According to a COMPAS Public Opinion and Customer Research public survey conducted on behalf of the Ottawa police, 43 per cent of those surveyed thought crime in Ottawa has increased over the past three years.

However, preliminary 2008 data from Ottawa police show a decline in the number of calls for service and criminal code offences.

Initial police statistics show decreases in reported crimes against the person, property crimes and other criminal code offences compared to 2007.

In 2008, police responded to more than 364,000 calls for service, 2.3 per cent fewer than in 2007.

According to the public opinion survey, which had 2,508 participants from each ward in the city, 68 per cent of Ottawa residents ranked the police performance as “good or very good,” with almost none ranking it as “poor or very poor.”

Ninety per cent of respondents ranked an officer they dealt with as courteous and professional and 84 per cent were confident in the officer’s ability to handle the situation.