In today’s day and age, interpersonal communication is one of the most valuable things we practice daily. Whether face-to-face or online, connecting with each other is a huge asset, especially regarding safety and safety procedures. There are well-known safety practices that we all follow: never traveling alone late at night, always having a charged phone, telling a friend where we’re going, etc. Driving safety has a much different set of rules — always wearing your seatbelt, checking all your mirrors and using your turn signal, to name a few.
But internal communities’ safety tips and procedures are slightly different from these universal practices. Think of the workplace, for example: safety tips in a restaurant would be much different than those working with heavy machinery. Much like the idea of safety is different depending on where you work, it’s different where you live due to differences in population and crime rates. So, internal communities have different communication styles, needs and attitudes.
An example of internal communities’ differing attitudes: in Pennsylvania, 47% of survey respondents reported a high level of concern for violent crime in comparison to California’s 59% in 2022, the United States average is 49%. Additionally, 35% of residents surveyed in Pennsylvania use some form of personal protection, and 34% of those from California do as well in comparison to the United States average of 39%. However, California residents’ personal protection usage increased by nine points from the previous year. Yet, both states have listed pepper spray as being used the most often (PA with 54% and CA with 59%) and concealed-carry firearms are used least often for personal safety purposes (PA with 40% and CA with 26%). All of these statistics safety attitudes are according to The State Safety Report conducted by Safe Wise using 2022 data.
However, among the top 100 safest cities in the US violent crimes were 15 times lower than the national average and property crime was six times lower than the national average. All of these cities have a small population, “suburban vibes,” a higher household income and a northeastern address — 65% of America’s safest cities are in the northeast according to SafeWise.
One thing to know is that interpersonal communication is both complicated and contextual, and it has pitfalls. While every conversation has a sender (the person talking), a receiver (the person listening), a message (what is being conveyed) and a channel (how it is being conveyed), due to outside influences or our own personal bias, the message can get muddled. However, communication is unavoidable due to its many uses including imparting and gathering information which is why it is essential to use it for safety precautions.
Spreading information via word-of-mouth is one way to continue or create a sense of a tight-knit community, increase trust and heighten authority. One way to share information with others while indirectly practicing word-of-mouth speech is through the internet. However, sharing information online in your community through social media is much different than in digital communities. Social media posts are often shared with people you may not intend to receive your message, whereas sharing in digital communities (which often go hand in hand with social media) like forums and support groups, you join under a common interest so you know what you can expect.
When concerning safety while living in West Chester, I would strongly encourage practicing group messaging whether it be between roommates, neighbors, friends, coworkers, etc. This vessel of communication could be the most useful to all of us when used correctly as long as the information is accurate and timely.
Sydney Troxel is a fourth-year media and culture major with dual minors in journalism and digital marketing. ST0935596@wcupa.edu