Public Safety

Everyone deserves to be safe where they live, regardless of race, wealth, health, ability, or background, and protecting this right is one of the most important responsibilities of government and community leaders. For too long, we have failed to achieve these public safety objectives. Most crimes go unsolved and the vast majority of crime survivors receive little to no assistance in their recovery, while those who are apprehended often cycle in and out of incarceration due to underlying challenges and circumstances that go unaddressed. Meanwhile, the kind of services and support that are very effective at preventing crime have long been underresourced. Decades of harsh and overly punitive policies have turned the United States into the most carceral nation in the world without generating durable safety. Instead, they have wreaked havoc on communities across the country, separating families, extracting wealth from the poorest communities, and creating devastating barriers for people with criminal records that keep second chances out of reach.

To build lasting public safety, we must change our emphasis from one of punishment to one of prevention. We must change the ways we hold people accountable to ensure people cannot harm others with impunity while delivering holistic and restorative outcomes that prevent future offending. Solutions should focus resources on the challenges of serious and violent crime, improving police-community relations, centering the people most harmed by both crime and incarceration, and empowering victims to repair their lives. Simultaneously, we must prioritize robust investment into the infrastructure, services, and built environment of communities that have been simultaneously subject to neglect, disinvestment, and overenforcement. Elected officials and community leaders across the country are incorporating these approaches to create a less harmful and more just path to public safety.


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Lindsey McLendon on Public Safety in America Podcast

Lindsey McLendon on Public Safety in America

Lindsey McLendon, senior fellow for Criminal Justice Reform at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, joins the show to talk about public safety, including crime trends, drivers, and evidence-based solutions to improve accountability and justice.

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