Community norms-the greatest obstacle to safe and drug free schools

  • Drinking is a rite of passage and something expected of teenagers.
  • Drug use is glamorous, sexy and fun.
  • Entertainment is violent, and violence is entertaining.

World Health Organization

Cultural and social norms are highly influential in shaping individual behavior, including the use of violence. Norms can protect against violence, but they can also support and encourage the use of it.

  • Mass media campaigns have been successfully employed to address a wide range of health attitudes and behavior:
    • eating healthily and exercising
    • stopping smoking
    • practicing safe sex
    • reducing alcohol consumption
    • reducing drink-driving
  • A meta-analysis of 48 health- behavior campaigns reported that on average, 9% more people exhibited a healthy form of behavior following a campaign than before.

What Can Be Done

Shaping New Community Norms

  • Raise public awareness of the need for prevention
  • Build support for institutional and/or policy change
  • Use the media to advocate prevention
  • Involve young people, being valued by the community is a protective factor; communities are stronger when their youth is regarded as a resource and not a problem

Community-wide prevention strategies can create healthy environments that promote healthy choices and discourage problem behaviors

Using your Department to positively connect with the community

  • Website
  • Newsletter
  • Safety cards
  • Junior Police Academy
  • National Night Out
  • L.E.A.D.
  • Hands of Respect Initiative
  • Community Forums