Feeling safe where you live
Developing strong relationships with those that live around us and those we work with can be a great start to feel happy and fulfilled.
Relationships of this kind are what we call communities. Communities are just people who come together for a shared purpose regardless of whether the community is a sports group, a tech start-up or a bingo meet. 😆
For communities to be great they need a few values:
- They need to be inclusive; this is where everyone feels welcome.
- We need our voices to be heard.
- Communities need to empower all their members.
- A community needs to feel like it is having a positive contribution to society as a whole.
To develop great local communities, we need to feel safe this means living in an area where we all feel safe and are safe.
You might have heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, it states that we need food, water and safety before we can reach higher levels of happiness. Happiness is what we need
We all understand the importance of safety in our lives, but what is safety? How is it measured, and what are the current levels of safety?
To be unsafe is to be in a situation where there is a threat of being harmed or hurt. For example, if you were in a room with a lion, you would be in a situation in which emotional, or physical harm could occur. To be unsafe is normally measured and referred to by think tanks and individuals. Also, often your safety can be judged by a third-party such as Health and Safety, your friends or the police.
How do we measure and think about our safety?
Safety is an issue that we all care about so governments think tanks and the civil service have all come up with ways to measure it. A reason for this is that by quantifying safety, these organisations can understand trends. Trends can tell us whether our safety is getting better, or worse.
The most widespread measure for safety is crime rates: they the number of prosecutions, and reports of crime, per area. Another way that crime is measured is through looking at our perceptions of crime. The Office for National Statistics, for example, measures how likely we think we are of being victims of crime.
How has your safety changed over time
You’re a lot safer than you think
Below is a graph showing how crime has changed over the last 30 years.
It looks great, doesn’t it! We can see from this mountain looking graph that crime is much lower than in previous decades.
This shows us a very different picture of crime, we’re so used to seeing headlines like ‘crime surge!!!’. But in reality, crime has decreased over the decades.
One type of crime that has decreased over the last three decades is a violent crime. The number of people who were affected by violent crime was 4.7% of adults in 1995, however, in March 2018 they were only 1.7% of adults. This is great! Read more here
Safety is not just being safe, but we must remember safety is feeling safe. This is because feeling safe is different from being safe. Safety is a state of mind. For example, a frequent sky jumper can jump out of a plane and know it’s going to be okay. I, on the other hand, would be terrified. Feeling safe relates to our experiences, and what we’ve been exposed to in our lives, who we are as people, etc. We must be in situations where we feel safe.
It’s important to remember that different groups feel safer in different situations. An elderly person might feel unsafe in a place, that a young person would be happy.
Practical ways to make us feel safe
Improving safety is a question that everyone wants to answer. The number of guides to improve safety are almost impossible to count. We have compiled our advice for ways you can make yourself feel safer in our everyday lives.
Ways to feel safer where you live
- Chat with your neighbours — getting to know your neighbours can make you feel safer. When someone is a stranger we are more likely to be scared of them, have a chat with those around you and people stop being strangers.
- Join a local community organisation — community centres often have the most knowledgable people in your local area. If you’re worried about safety, sometimes chatting with people at your local community centre will make you feel
- Download some apps — different situations can often make you feel more safe, and unsafe. For example, walking at night can be dangerous. Some Apps can help this. For example, if you’re travelling in London at night why not download CityMapper so you feel safer.
- Travel with a friend at night — often we feel safer when we are with friends and also more likely to be safer.