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16 Examples of Public Safety

Public safety is a system of rules, enforcement mechanisms, infrastructure and services that reduce risk to life and quality of life. These are provided by all levels of government and often represent a significant portion of government spending. The following are common examples.

Public Security

The terms public safety and public security are often used interchangeably. However, public security is a more specific concept that applies to policing and related services.

Justice System

The justice system of a nation including courts, prisons and programs for the rehabilitation of offenders.

Intelligence Services

The collection, analysis and dissemination of information in support of law enforcement, national security, military and foreign policy objectives.


Agencies with offensive and defensive information security capabilities.

Emergency Services

Firefighters, ambulances and other emergency services.

Public Health

The healthcare system of a nation such as public hospitals, clinics and labs.

Public Infrastructure

Safety related public infrastructure such as highways, roads, waterways and coastal infrastructure. For example, a hill that has been engineered to prevent a landslide.

Urban Planning & Design

The planning and design of cities such as building codes that increase fire safety.

Emergency Management

Agencies that lead preparation, response and recovery from disasters such as a hurricane, earthquake or chemical spill.

Food Safety

Standards and inspections that guarantee the safety of a nation's food supply.

Consumer Protection

Regulations and enforcement related to the quality and safety of products and services. For example, a government that forces a recall of a vehicle model with serious braking defects.

Customs & Border Protection

Control of the flow of people and goods into a country.

Safety Culture

Media and communications designed to create awareness of safety. For example, a subway service that communicates passenger practices for saying safety in subway stations.

Transportation Safety

Regulation and enforcement related to transportation safety. For example, regulations regarding aircraft maintenance and operations.

Occupational Health & Safety

Agencies charged with making sure workers are safe on the job. For example, regulations regarding safety precautions and working conditions in mines.

Nanny State

Nanny state is a term for state paternalism whereby a nation doesn't allow people to make their own decisions regarding calculated risk. For example, a city that tries to ban a sport such as surfing because they decide it is too dangerous.


The list above isn't exhaustive.
Public safety concerns the fundamental values of society such as rights, freedoms, privacy, morality and the definition of quality of life.
There is often a trade-off between freedom and safety. For example, the freedom to drive extremely fast might be likely to decrease safety.
Overview: Public Safety
A system of rules, enforcement mechanisms, infrastructure and services that reduce risk to life and quality of life.
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