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Springfield Named a "Safe Community" - Pt. One

The World Health Organization named the city of Springfield a "Safe Community" this morning.

In the first part of a two part report, KSMU's Matt Petcoff explains what it means to join this international community...

Beginning in 1989, the World Health Organization began promoting community safety worldwide.

This designation recognizes communities that promote safety and prevent needless accidents and deaths.

This morning, the W-H-O named Springfield the 113th "Safe Community" worldwide.

Many city officials including Police Chief Lynn Rowe, Presiding County Commisioner Dave Coonrod and City Manager Bob Cumley attended the designation ceremony.

Also in attendance was Alan McMillan, President of the National Safety Council.

He says this designation highlights communities where citizens work together.

Before the W-H-O designated Springfield a "Safe Community", it had to meet six specific indicators.

For instance, long-term, sustainable programs for both genders and all ages had to be in place and safety programs targeting high-risk groups also had to exist.

Robert Ekman is a member of the World Health Organization and helped create the "Safe Community" program, which began in northern Europe.

He says the program is designed to spread from community to community with an education process between cities.

The Safety Council of the Ozarks led Springfield's designation effort to become a "Safe Community".

And, in October, the National Safety Council will be designated as the official W-H-O affiliate to support Safe Communities in the United States.