BCHC, Prevention Institute Issue Report on Community Violence Prevention
The Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) and the Prevention Institute recently issued a reported entitled, “Community Safety Realized: Public Health Pathways to Preventing Violence.” The report is designed to support health departments and other organizations in work to prevent and address violence in communities. According to BCHC and the Prevention Institute, risk factors for violence, such as economic instability and social isolation, increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in increases in violent incidents nationwide.
Community Safety Realized is intended to move the conversation about reimagining community safety from aspiration to concrete strategies and action steps. The report is based on interviews with dozens of health directors, government leaders, epidemiologists, and violence prevention advocates and practitioners. The framework includes best practices of strategies and partnerships that, when put into place, can effectively create community safety using a public health methodology.
The four defining features of the report include:
- Truth, racial healing, and transformation: Racial injustice embedded in policies at all levels of government has resulted in inequities in rates of violence. A shared understanding that violence is rooted in structural racism can build public will for public health strategies for community safety.
- Community leadership and power: The people who are most impacted by violence and injustice have a democratic right to drive public policy agendas, influence institutional decision-making, and set budget priorities that will improve their lives and neighborhoods.
- Data and evidence-driven: Community safety strategies should be informed by a careful and thorough assessment of violence in a community, including who is most affected, and factors and circumstances that are either contributing to violence or helping to create safety, using a variety of data sources.
- Collaborative action: A public health approach to community safety depends on collaborative action because the policies and conditions that lead to either safety or violence are shaped by multiple sectors and systems.
The BCHC and Prevention Institute will convene a webinar on June 8 to further detail the Community Safety Realized framework and provide interested parties an opportunity to hear directly from health department leaders who have contributed to the development of the framework.