Becoming a Safe Community
Safe Communities America, Inc. is the
non-profit, coordinating and accrediting
organization for Safe Communities in
the United States.


The Safe Communities model is a long-standing approach to reducing injuries and deaths. It works through engaging local partners who care about safety, using data to identify leading causes of injury, making a plan to address the issues using proven methods and measuring success. An accredited Safe Community can be a city, village, county, region or university. The community decides the borders. The benefits to becoming a Safe Community include:

  • Increased capacity and efficiency to address injuries and safety
  • Potential for funding through partnerships
  • Community economic development opportunities
  • Awareness of public efforts to increase quality of life
  • Recognition for your community's commitment to safety


When you become an accredited Safe Community, you officially join the Pan Pacific Safe Communities Network, a network of safe communities in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.


Steps to Safe Communities Accreditation


Step 1: Build Your Coalition and Community Support

Build your coalition.  This process can take 10-12 months. The Community Toolbox offers strategies to build and maintain a coalition.

Acquire support from community leaders. Community leadership support, including the mayor, council members, and/or city manager, is a requirement for Safe Communities accreditation. If you need sample letters to your leadership, please contact SCA staff. 

Establish a core group. Bring together key stakeholders to explore how Safe Communities accreditation will benefit the community. Consider leveraging an existing group when forming your coalition (e.g.. Safe Kids coalition, Steering Committee on Health and Safety, a local emergency planning committee). Your core group can help you develop a mission and encourage others to join. 

Identify a lead organization. One organization should take the leadership role in the application and coalition building process. We highly recommend two leads from different organizations. The lead may change over time and the coalition can be led by any organization. The lead organization(s) will act as the main contact between the community and Safe Communities America. 


Step 2: Review Community Data and Resources

Review community data. How are people getting hurt? Where are they getting hurt? Why are they getting hurt? Use data from hospitals, health departments, colleges and universities, police departments, schools, any local or regional data to help you determine what injuries are occurring in your community.

Conduct a community assessment. What programs, policies, practices or partnerships exist to keep the community safe and healthy? What activities exist in the community, schools, workplace, etc.? An inventory of programs will help you identify where efforts are duplicated and where gaps exist.


Step 3: Review Criteria

Every community must meet the following criteria to meet accreditation standards:

  • Sustained collaboration: Community leaders and advocates work together to improve the quality of life in the community
  • Data collection and application: Collection and examination of community injury data to set injury priorities
  • Effective strategies to address unintentional and intentional injuries: Proactive and strategic approaches to address the highest injury area in the community
  • Evaluation methods: Implement sound methods to measure progress of coalition-supported initiatives


Step 4: Submit a Letter of Intent 

All communities must submit a Letter of Intent and application fee in order to apply for Safe Communities America accreditation. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to submit the required documentation.


Step 5: Submit Application

SCA staff will provide ongoing support to the community. SCA staff can review draft applications, attend meetings over the phone with the coalition, provide sample materials and connect you with current Safe Communities coalition leaders. 

Once the final application is submitted, SCA staff will complete a cursory review to ensure that all required components are included in the application.


Step 6: Application Review

Once the cursory review is complete, SCA staff will assign two national reviewers and one international reviewer. The international reviewer will only complete a desktop review and will not attend the site visit. Reviewers will then have four to eight weeks to complete the review process. This does not include the site visit. Reviewers may ask for additional modifications to the application during this period.


Step 7: Site Visit

A site visit is required for all new communities and some reaccrediting communities. The site visit lasts 1.5 days and covers programs and partnership documented in the application. Reviewers will outline what they would like to see in the site visit. At the end of the site visit, reviewers will indicate to the community whether they recommend the community for accreditation. If you are an accredited Safe Community seeking reaccreditation, a site visit may not be necessary; the SCA board of directors and the National Safe Community Accrediting Center will discuss the need for a site visit with you. 

Reviewers will provide SCA staff with a final report highlighting successes and areas for improvement. Communities must cover the costs for travel, lodging and meals for the two national SCA reviewers.


Step 8: Accreditation Ceremony

The accreditation ceremony should be planned within 12 weeks of the site visit. The applicant community must support travel, lodging and meals for one SCA representative to attend the ceremony and present the accreditation. The designated community representative will work with the SCA certifying center to determine a date and time.


Maintaining Safe Communities Accreditation and Reaccreditation

Safe Communities accreditation is valid five years; extensions may be granted in exceptional circumstances. In order to maintain accredited status, communities are required to do the following:

  • Participate in quarterly conference calls to share national and local programs and activities
  • Submit an annual community report
  • Document steering committee/advisory council/coalition leadership meetings at least twice a year
  • Evaluate coalition-supported initiatives; the annual community report requires the inclusion of evaluation strategies implemented in a coalition's priority areas

An application for reaccreditation must be submitted every five years to maintain Safe Communities accreditation.  Not every community will require a site visit for reaccreditation; see the application or ask SCA staff to determine whether your community may require a site visit. 

Failure to meet these requirements may impact the community's accreditation.