Understanding the Many Factors Contributing to Public Safety

Public Safety Starts with Us

The first thing to realize about public safety is that it starts with individuals. The choices we make have a big impact on our safety. Be proactive about protecting yourself and your community. Always keep personal responsibility in mind.

What Does “Public Safety” Entail?

While this term may be used in various ways in any given city, state, region or country, when we think of the phrase “public safety,” we tend to go straight to the obvious definition: the rules, regulations and entities responsible for keeping residents safe from harm. This “harm” is most often associated with criminal activity and entities that deal with such activity, like the police department, but is not limited to such. Some public safety issues a governing body may deal with include:

Littering – This may not seem like a serious issue but it can, in fact, create dangerous situations. A piece of litter on a road could cause a vehicle accident and a piece of litter on a sidewalk can cause injury if it can’t be avoided.

Trespassing – Protecting homeowners, business owners and employees from unwanted visitors is a key component to public safety. While certain precautions are up to the homeowner or business owner (such as locking doors, installing alarms and/or cameras, etc.), the city is responsible for taking action when trespassing does occur.

Excessive Noise – Noise in and of itself does not necessarily cause “harm,” unless it is especially loud, but it does affect quality of life, which can also be considered under the umbrella of “public safety.” Most, if not all cities, have laws in place that indicate what noise levels are appropriate for which days and times and what noise levels are inappropriate.

Harassment – This is a very broad term that includes various forms, but it is the court’s job to have the appropriate systems in place to deal with harassment. Certain situations require intervention by law enforcement while others require available recourse through other channels, such as reporting a coworker or supervisor for sexual harassment. This applies to city officials and workers as well. Harassment leads to danger and any reported harassment must be addressed.

Narcotic Use – This is a problem around the world that requires strict enforcement by police and other authorities, but it isn’t just catching people when they use, it is also about prevention. The negative effects of substance abuse are not worth it and it is imperative that we pass this message on.

DUIs – Drunk drivers endanger everyone on the road and police need to have the resources to identify these drivers and get them off the road.

Juvenile Delinquency – Making sure our youth are on the right track is an important aspect of public safety. This not only requires a juvenile justice system that works but on making sure education receives the funding it needs and helping making sure that there are plenty of activities and opportunities through city groups and organizations. The community is a big part of keeping our youth on the right track.

Building Safety Codes – The specifications to which buildings are built have a direct effect on public safety. How many exits there are, where the exits are, the fire/emergency alarm system and other characteristics must all conform to the highest standards while upholding individual property rights.

Road Infrastructure & Traffic Management – Traffic jams are not fun, we all know this, but they also threaten public safety. When traffic signals are not timed properly or are not working, this threatens public safety as well. Crosswalks, stop signs and traffic cameras all have to do with the safety of drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, as does our own personal safety management.

Police & Fire Funding – If we expect the police and fire departments to respond properly, we need to make sure they have the resources they need and that those resources are used appropriately. There are a lot of costs associated with running these departments and ensuring that they have what they need takes a step in the right direction when it comes to public safety. The proper management of water and electricity is also an important factor in the police and fire planning process.