During National Safety Month in June, we were reminded about the importance of creating a safer communities in Chicago. We love our city, and we want to make sure every neighborhood is as safe and protected as possible.
Drug abuse and violence are still very real problems in most communities around the world, and community efforts through group participation have had a big impact on combatting these problems among others
1. Come together and establish a core Safe Community Group
The first step is actually recognizing that there is an issue and realizing that community members can make a big difference. Relying on someone else to fix your problems can often be ineffective, because proximity to the problem is key. A Safe Community Group would have the advantage of identifying the unsafe aspects in a particular neighborhood and bringing people together to come up with solutions.
2. Use data to identify the main causes of injuries or harm
Finding out the leading causes of injury and death in your community is a good place to start. It allows you to put a spotlight on those particular issues and to formulate measures to combat them. Your local police department should be able to provide you with information about the causes of casualties in your area.
3. Apply to the Safe Community Program
The Safe Communities America model is an effective approach to reducing harm in communities. Check out the benefits of joining here.
4. Brainstorm improvement strategies together
The more thinkers, the better the strategies. It is important to look at what you have been doing in the past to make your community safer and decide how you can improve your strategies now and in the future. This step also raises awareness and gets more people talking about the issues in your community.
5. Make it clear to the community where members can find help and resources – and make it easy.
Having help and resources available is great, but they don’t have much of an impact unless there easy to access. The more that resources are easily accessible, the more people will utilize them.
6. Education and training in the community
Education and training are extremely important to a safe community. Educating community members on how to prevent unsafe events from happening can help decrease the number of crisis situations. Training, on the other hand, teaches people what to do in the event of a crisis. Community training geared toward identifying what action steps to take if you witness drug abuse, domestic violence, break-ins and more can help your neighbors better deal with these problems.
7. Look out for your neighbors
If you see a neighbor that may be in need of help, don’t be afraid to talk to them, their loved ones or a trained professional about it. Getting to know each other and having each other’s backs is absolutely essential to a safe community.
At ACCESS, we have taken this step to heart. For the past few years, ACCESS has strengthened its partnership with the Chicago Police Department to help ACCESS promote safety for our patients, staff and fellow community members. We also collaborate with various Chicago Police Department districts on specific events to promote safety within the communities that we proudly serve.