COMMUNITY SAFETY

Everyone should feel and be safe in their home, work, school and community. An individual’s community should be a nurturing and restorative, not punitive, environment. Beyond violence prevention, it is about dealing with chronic stress and healing from the trauma already experienced directly, indirectly, or collectively in their community. Ensuring community safety requires public safety officials to be knowledgeable about the community they are intended to serve to have their safety interests in mind. Community safety requires using healing centered care and engagement (vs. trauma-informed) that is accessible to anyone regardless of across race, class, age, sex, gender and ethnicity.

DISPARITIES AND STATISTICS

  • Race and Ethnicity: The normalization and rise of cops in schools has actually made Black and Brown youth less safe, evidently increasing the youth’s risk for trauma from being criminalized and pushed into the school-to-prison/deportation pipeline. 34% of incidents involving Black and Brown youth ended in police using handcuffs, versus 26% of incidents involving white students. 47 Schools’ reliance on punitive practices clearly come from the lack of understanding of students’ holistic safety needs for thriving learning environments. 1.7 million students attend schools with at least one cop and no counselors and over 10 million students go to a school with police officers and no social workers in the 2015-16 school year.48

  • Socioeconomic Status: Among surveyed domestic abuse survivors, 99% reported experiencing economic abuse—finances often cited as the biggest barrier to leaving an abusive relationship.49 Without the proper support, survivors of domestic abuse are thus at a higher risk for job and overall economic, and even housing, instability.49

  • Health: Unsafe neighborhoods have higher rates of mental health instability; anxiety, depression, stress/persistent post-traumatic stress disorders, as well as higher rates of maternal health complications including pre-term births and low-birth weights.50 Lack of community safety will also keep people from engaging outdoors in parks, exercising, or bonding with neighbors.50

Antonio Lewis