Step 1: Coalition Building
Safe Communities America, Inc. is the
non-profit, coordinating and accrediting
organization for Safe Communities in
the United States.


A key requirement for a Safe Community is an active coalition of community members and organizations dedicated to preventing injuries and reducing the burden of injuries in the community. The coalition is at the heart of the Safe Communities model and is a key component of what makes the program effective.  Without broad support from a variety of partners, it is very difficult to develop and implement widespread injury prevention efforts. 

You will also need support from community leaders and partner organizations.  Some of these individuals and organizations may be part of your coalition, while others may not participate in coalition meetings and planning efforts but may provide data or resources to support your efforts. Individuals, government officials and agencies, businesses, non-profit organizations, faith-based organizations, and informal groups are all potential partners and supporters. 

Building a real, functional coalition takes time. This process can take a year or more. The Community Toolbox offers strategies to build and maintain a coalition.  The Safe Communities Support Center at the Kentucky Injury Prevention and Research Center can also provide advice and help you plan strategies to build your coalition. 

Secure community leadership. Community leadership support is a requirement for Safe Communities accreditation. This can include the chief executive of your local government or institution, members of your city or county commission or equivalent governing body, and independent elected officials (e.g., a sheriff). If you need sample letters to your leadership, you can contact the Safe Communities Support Center for assistance.  

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). This group may serve as an incubator for your Safe Communities coalition or even morph into the core group for your coalition.  Your core group can help you develop a mission statement and initial plan, identify data sources and potential resources, and encourage others to join.

Identify a lead organization. In most cases, one organization takes the leadership role in the 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 coalition and Safe Communities America.

Once you have identified leaders and lead organizations and developed an active, well-organized coalition, you are ready to move forward.