Creating a safe community means creating a healthy community. For instance, unsafe roads, bikeways, and walkways may limit access to destinations of health and result in negative health outcomes. Studies show that fear of crime resulting from unsafe conditions like broken sidewalks, poor lighting, graffiti, and boarded up buildings was associated with poor mental health, reduced physical activity and lower quality of life.1City and County of Denver Violence and violent crime have been correlated with asthma, higher rates of chronic illness like heart disease, and overall unhealthy communities. 2The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: The Role of Community Safety in Obesity Prevention Ensuring communities are safe will help ensure that communities are healthy.
What It Means
Unsafe communities are more likely to be unhealthy communities. Contributing factors like unsafe streets, affect low-income communities much more than other communities.1Smart Growth America: Complete Streets Mean Equitable Streets The pedestrian fatality rate for Latinos and African Americans is over 50% higher than whites.2Smart Growth America: Complete Streets Mean Equitable Streets Other factors that contribute to unsafe communities like high rates of violence, lighting, and the built environment often are also more prevalent in minority communities. These unsafe conditions cause higher rates of obesity among low-income communities as compared to middle or high-income peers. It’s evident that something needs to be done to increase physical activity and access to healthy foods by creating safer communities.
Why It Matters
The ability for a community to recover from adversity depends on the social networks, economic systems, built environment, and health of the community. All of these factors are influenced by the safety of the community. Economic opportunity, social capacity, the communal structures, and community health are impacted by whether or not the community is safe. Supporting resilience in Arizona communities means supporting the safety and health of those communities. Communities that can thrive because of their safe conditions are communities that can adapt to tough situations.
Live Well Arizona is a continually evolving website and will grow with your input. Help us identify, lift up, and celebrate efforts that help Arizonans be healthier and live well.
You Are Not Alone Program (YANA):
YANA provides regular phone calls and home visits to elderly residents in Goodyear that might not have friends or family nearby. Seniors can also call YANA to receive information on needed services and resources.
Get a bird’s eye view of efforts from around the country that can be an inspiration and reference point for Arizona-based work:
A public health approach to reduce shootings and homicides; Aim4Peace uses highly-trained violence interrupters and outreach staff, education campaigns, to reverse the violence epidemic in Kansas City, Missouri.
The Cure Violence Health Model adapts methods to stop the transmission of deadly diseases and uses such methods to engage communities to change behavior in recognizing violence.
Museum of Tolerance:
This Los Angeles museum provides interactive exhibits that provides visitors to an opportunity to learn from the past, engage in the present, and assume responsibility for the future.