Community Safety Realized: Public Health Pathways to Preventing Violence

May 01, 2021
  • Description

Every person in every community deserves opportunities to prosper and thrive. But in too many communities, especially communities that have been marginalized by structural racism and other systemic barriers, violence tragically and unjustly curtails these opportunities. Violence, like many public health challenges, is preventable. Cities have a responsibility to take decisive action to prevent violence, using the proven tools of public health. Yet, the majority of public investments are used to address the aftermath of violence and often cause further harm. Communities can be made safer when we understand the events that have led to present conditions and act on this knowledge by implementing policies and practices that address the root causes of violence.

Public health strategies for preventing violence are achievable and necessary for all of us to flourish. Informed by the science and practice of public health and driven by the values of equity and justice, Community Safety Realized: Public Health Pathways to Preventing Violence, describes community-driven, multi-sector approaches to preventing violence and realizing community safety. The dual purposes of this report are to expand collective understanding of violence prevention policies, practices, and programs, and to invite collaboration among community-based organizations, government agencies, policymakers, and other multi-sector partners to promote equity, justice, and safety.

This report describes the pathways to violence or safety and highlights sample strategies along the safety pathway. It delineates defining features of a public health approach, and core elements for effectiveness and sustainability. Recognizing that community safety strategies depend on leadership and participation from community members, elected officials, city agency leaders, and others, the report includes examples of key sectors and partners.