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Health Promot J Austr. 2012 Dec;23(3):231-3.

Specific issues, exact locations: case study of a community mapping project to improve safety in a disadvantaged community.

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  • 1The HUB Community Health Centre, Sydney South West Local Health District, NSW, Australia.



Safety is a health issue and a significant concern in disadvantaged communities. This paper describes an example of community-initiated action to address perceptions of fear and safety in a suburb in south-west Sydney which led to the development of a local, community-driven research project.


As a first step in developing community capacity to take action on issues of safety, a joint resident-agency group implemented a community safety mapping project to identify the extent of safety issues in the community and their exact geographical location. Two aerial maps of the suburb, measuring one metre by two metres, were placed on display at different locations for four months. Residents used coloured stickers to identify specific issues and exact locations where crime and safety were a concern.


Residents identified 294 specific safety issues in the suburb, 41.9% (n=123) associated with public infrastructure, such as poor lighting and pathways, and 31.9% (n=94) associated with drug-related issues such as drug activity and discarded syringes.


Good health promotion practice reflects community need. In a very practical sense, this project responded to community calls for action by mapping resident knowledge on specific safety issues and exact locations and presenting these maps to local decision makers for further action.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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