Illinois Justice Project

Learn About the SAFE Act


Learn about HB 5308 (formerly SB 238), the SAFE Act of 2018

House Bill 5308, the SAFE Act of 2018, will prioritize state support to communities most in need of violence prevention and reduction.

The SAFE Act – Safe and Full Employment Zones – mobilizes state economic development and social service agencies that will fight crime by strengthening the communities most damaged by the violence.  It will help create jobs and bring housing, employment training, childcare, health care and other services to neighborhoods that suffered the highest rates of violence.

 The SAFE Act is based on principles outlined in the Building A Safe Illinois report, including and understanding that government should support approaches that treat the root causes of violence and prevent its spread, instead of only reacting to violence after it happens.

  1. The state – through the SAFE Illinois Coordinating Board – will identify concentrated geographic areas, SAFE Zones, throughout the state that have historically suffered from under-investment and experienced high levels of crime, incarceration and community violence.

  2. Once designated and with technical assistance from the state, local economic growth councils will create their own plans about how to address violence, reduce incarceration and expand economic opportunity.

  3. SAFE Zones will be given first priority in allocation of existing federal, state and local spending on job creation, housing, employment training, childcare, healthcare and other services to combat community disinvestment that breeds violence.

How do you know this will work?

To maximize success and to identify ways to improve this in the future, the SAFE Illinois Coordinating Board will monitor and collect data on intermediate and long-term outcome measures for each violence reduction/investment strategy and will report annually to the public. The bill also requires a formal, independent evaluation to be conducted by a public university.