It’s impossible to live a healthy life when you don’t feel safe in your neighborhood. That’s what The California Endowment heard when we listened to communities throughout California as part of our Building Healthy Communities Initiative. Kids won’t ride on bike paths if their parents won’t let them outside. It doesn’t matter if the local market sells fresh fruits and vegetables if it’s too dangerous to walk there. And, what does it say about our hopes for our young people when we invest more in jails than in schools and universities?
At The California Endowment, we know that health and safety are closely linked. In fact, health – and the lack of it – is one of the biggest drivers of crime and violence. For example, almost 80 percent of people who are arrested have a substance abuse problem. Instead of ignoring addictions and just locking people up, we need to treat health problems like addiction with health solutions, like drug treatment. And, we should build neighborhoods where police work in true partnership with community, where there are after-school and summer programs that keep teens active and healthy, and where people coming out of prison can build marketable skills so they’re less likely to commit crimes again.
It’s up to all of us to build healthy and safe communities, so we’re working in partnership with law enforcement, city planners, schools, health providers, community organizations, and the youth and residents who are impacted by violence on a daily basis.
What We’re Doing
Learn about our other Neighborhoods Key Issues: Fresh Foods and Places to Walk and Play