Improving Community Safety Through Public Health Strategies

Lessons From Atlanta and Milwaukee

Posted July 20, 2021
By the Annie E. Casey Foundation
Get the Full Report:
Download Report Order Your Copy
Cover of Improving Community Safety Through Public Health Strategies report


This report offers early lessons and recommendations from work the Annie E. Casey Foundation is supporting in Atlanta and Milwaukee to prevent gun violence. These communities are part of a national movement to increase safety and heal trauma by examining root causes and addressing these issues from a public health and racial justice perspective. Residents in both cities are shaping and leading safety strategies with the support of local nonprofits and other public and private partners. Their stories highlight the many ways that philanthropic and system leaders can help catalyze alternative public safety models and support their development and implementation — including helping to establish a new narrative about what it takes to keep communities safe and building and sharing evidence on effective public health interventions.

As the work featured in this report shows, both public and private entities have roles to play in supporting a public health approach to safety. Residents in Atlanta, with funding and support from Casey and other investors, established a neighborhood-based advisory group and began implementing the Cure Violence model. In Milwaukee, another place where the Foundation is supporting Cure Violence, the movement to reimagine public safety is being driven by the city’s Office of Violence Prevention. Each community developed strategies and programs based on local goals, needs and circumstances. One common thread underpinning their efforts has been the purposeful engagement and inclusion of people living in the areas directly affected by violence.

Findings & Stats About Community Safety

Statements & Quotations

Gun Violence is Preventable

Gun violence is a public health epidemic that must be addressed with preventive measures developed with input from communities.

Because gun violence is symptomatic of larger social and racial inequities, communities will require a multipronged approach to safety that is rooted in research and driven by its members. The Casey Foundation supports approaches that incorporate an assessment of both risk and resilience factors at the community level and that tackle underlying causes, interrupt situations likely to result in violence and promote community-wide healing and support.