Protocol - Neighborhood Safety

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The Mujahid et al. (2007) protocol includes three interviewer-administered questions with five-point, Likert-style responses. For each question posed by the interviewer, the respondent reviews the list of responses and chooses the answer that best relates to his or her situation.



1. I feel safe walking in my neighborhood, day or night.

[ ] 1 Strongly Agree

[ ] 2 Agree

[ ] 3 Neutral (neither agree nor disagree)

[ ] 4 Disagree

[ ] 5 Strongly Disagree

2. Violence is not a problem in my neighborhood.

[ ] 1 Strongly Agree

[ ] 2 Agree

[ ] 3 Neutral (neither agree nor disagree)

[ ] 4 Disagree

[ ] 5 Strongly Disagree

3. My neighborhood is safe from crime.

[ ] 1 Strongly Agree

[ ] 2 Agree

[ ] 3 Neutral (neither agree nor disagree)

[ ] 4 Disagree

[ ] 5 Strongly Disagree

Scoring Instructions

A total score can be obtained by computing the average of the three items. Lower scores indicate more neighborhood safety.

Personnel and Training Required

No specific training is needed if data are collected through a self-administered questionnaire. If interviewers administer the questionnaire, the interviewer must be trained to conduct personal interviews with individuals from the general population and found competent to administer these particular questions (i.e., tested by an expert) at the completion of this training. The interviewer should be trained to prompt respondents further if a "don’t know" response is provided.

Equipment Needs

These questions can be administered in a computerized or noncomputerized format (i.e., paper-and pencil instrument). Computer software is necessary to develop computer-assisted instruments. The interviewer will require a laptop computer or handheld computer to administer or to allow the respondent to self-administer a computer-assisted questionnaire.


Requirement CategoryRequired
Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individualNo
Major equipmentNo
Specialized requirements for biospecimen collectionNo
Specialized trainingNo

Mode of Administration


Life Stage:


Specific Instructions:

Although used in the context of a personal interview, the questions and response categories are straightforward and can be adapted to a self-administered format.

Research Domain Information

Release Date:

May 31, 2016


This measure is a questionnaire to assess the respondent’s perceptions about safety and crime in their neighborhoods.


This measure is used to evaluate a respondent’s feelings toward neighborhood-level crime and safety. Studies show that neighborhood safety is relevant to a range of health outcomes, such as birth weight (Morenoff, 2003).

Selection Rationale

The Mujahid et al. (2007) scale was selected for its brevity and because it taps into both feelings about safety and presence of crime. This scale has strong psychometric properties, and prior studies have shown that subjective measures of crime and disorder are correlated with their objective counterparts (Elo et al., 2009). Additionally, objective crime measures (e.g., geocoded police department records, national crime statistics at the neighborhood level) are not uniformly available across the United States.


English, Spanish


Common Data Elements (CDE)Social Environment Neighborhood Safety Assessment Score3139339CDE Browser
Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC)Neighborhood safety proto63028-5LOINC

Process and Review

The [link[phenx.org/node/102|Expert Review Panel #2]] (ERP 2) reviewed the measures in the Demographics, Environmental Exposures, and Social Environments domains.

Guidance from ERP 2 includes:

• Revised descriptions of the measure

Back-compatible: no changes to Data Dictionary

Previous version in Toolkit archive ([link[www.phenxtoolkit.org/index.php?pageLink=browse.archive.protocols&id=210000|link]])


Mujahid, M. S., Diez Roux, A. V., Morenoff, J. D., & Raghunathan, T. (2007). Assessing the measurement properties of neighborhood scales: From psychometrics to ecometrics. American Journal of Epidemiology, 165, 858-867.

General References

Elo, I. T., Mykyta, L., Margolis, R., & Culhane, J. F. (2009). Perceptions of neighborhood disorder: The role of individual and neighborhood characteristics. Social Science Quarterly, 90, 1039-1422.

Morenoff, J. (2003). Neighborhood mechanisms and the spatial dynamics of birth weight. American Journal of Sociology, 108, 976-1017.

Protocol ID:



Export Variables
Variable NameVariable IDVariable DescriptionVersiondbGaP Mapping
PX210901_Feel_Safe_Walking_NeighborhoodPX210901010000I feel safe walking in my neighborhood, day or night.4N/A
PX210901_Neighborhood_ViolencePX210901020000Violence is not a problem in my neighborhood.4N/A
PX210901_Neighborhood_Safe_From_CrimePX210901030000My neighborhood is safe from crime.4N/A