Safety in Omaha & Council Bluffs Metro
Violent crime and property crime is overall slowing down. There was a spike in the number of murders in 2015, but it was much lower in 2016. And a lack of information about intimate partner violence means we don’t know who could be silently suffering.
The physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of safety affect our families, neighborhoods, schools, workforce, and our overall health as a community.
The safer an area, the better the quality of life for residents, and the more vibrant a community can become. As safety increases, there is greater opportunity for more neighborhood events, increased connections between neighbors, and a heightened use of area parks and outdoor spaces.
Within our community, crime rates have trended different ways in recent years, making it hard to reach any broad conclusions. Overall, our crime rates are higher than the national average. However, in some areas—Douglas County in particular—crime rates have been trending downward since 2000. Yet despite violent crime decreasing, 2015 saw a record high murder rate in Omaha, with 50 individuals murdered throughout the year. As we consider the overall safety of our community, it’s important to explore what other conditions may be impacting these spikes in crime and look at comprehensive strategies that foster safe and healthy neighborhoods.
Additionally, we must work to report more information on unreported partner violence on a local level. While we have data on reported cases, they often go unreported to law enforcement, courts or service providers. A lack of community-specific data leaves us without a clear understanding of the depth or severity of the issue.
Equally as important to physical safety are emotional and psychological safety, which frequently begins within the family unit and between friends and neighbors. Often, the emotional and physiological impact of bullying, threats, or other emotional violent acts can be just as damaging as physical violence.
Communities and families that provide places where people are safe from any and all acts of violence are critical to the overall well-being of our neighbors and friends.