Not an accredited safe community?

Why the Perception of Safety is Important

June 7, 2015 by designerwebsites

Community safety is a concept that is concerned with achieving a positive state of well-being among people within social and physical environments. Not only is it about reducing and preventing injury and crime, it is about building strong, cohesive, vibrant, participatory communities. This means the perception of safety is as important as measuring injury and crime rates.

But what is perception and why is it important in terms of community safety?

Perception is the way a person thinks about or understands something. What a person perceives is what they see as `real’. And it is this perception of reality that shapes their behaviours. However, is what people perceive real? Is a neighbourhood unsafe because the media report make a big deal of an attack in it? What is the impact of a parent who doesn’t let their children walk to school because they perceive it as too dangerous? Is this useful in teaching the children road safety?

Perception is complex; it is individual and dependent on numerous factors; life experiences, beliefs, type of community (urban vs rural), age, socioeconomic status, type of job and employment status, race and economic structure of the community are some of the factors which influence perception of safety. Hence, within a community, there will be diverse perceptions of safety which need to be addressed. Community safety initiatives need to ensure that these are included, in addition to the interventions for reducing the factors which cause injuries, to develop and support injury-free families/whanau, homes and communities.

Image courtesy of nattavut at

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