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KPBS News: Public Safety Policy


KPBS covers public safety in the literal sense — anything that may bring harm to the communities of San Diego and Imperial counties. That includes everything from wildfires to public health, government spending and police accountability.

Our stories advance the public understanding of public safety issues and serve the communities most affected by crime. We understand that historically, media coverage of these topics has tilted too much toward the perspectives of public safety agencies. We strive to cover these issues through multiple perspectives, in addition to the so-called official narrative. This approach provides our audience with a more accurate picture of public safety in the region and the systems that safeguard their communities. We use data, add context and highlight community voices. Anything we cover on every platform should meet the criteria in this mission statement.


Sharpening the coverage and communicating what we will and will not cover gives our audiences a clearer picture of who we are as a news organization and internally allows us to focus resources in more impactful ways.

KPBS strives to cover public safety issues and events that impact the community in a way that will build relationships — by elevating community voices, meeting audiences where they are and covering more than public safety in all communities — in an effort to show the full picture of a community.

KPBS is vigilant in spotting news stories that often get covered and need more consideration, and KPBS doesn't post stories simply to generate traffic or to fill a news hole.

The following is a list of the types of public safety stories we prioritize:

  • Wildfires and other high impact disasters
  • Crime trends/serial or high profile murders with added data and/or historical context
  • Police shootings with outside expert perspective and community voices
  • Crime trends with historical and/or data-driven context
  • Crime that brings to light systemic issues
  • Issues of high impact to the community — "news you can use" and stories that clarify the facts on an issue

The following is a list of types of stories we should avoid or discuss prior to covering:

  • Individual house fires
  • Homicides or crime without context
  • Police shootings or in-custody deaths with only the police narrative on what happened
  • Single crime statistics shared by police without verifying and contextualizing
  • Crime that paints a narrow picture of a community
  • Issues of no real impact to the community, but that cause public fear or alarm without providing context

Any coverage that falls outside of the scenarios listed above will be reviewed by the newsroom's editorial team to decide if the newsroom should dedicate time and resources to it.

What's next?

This section will be updated as our understanding of public safety evolves.

How does KPBS address individual requests to take down old content?

All requests to take down or update old crime stories are reviewed by the newsroom's editorial team. While stories are never unpublished, KPBS might update an article's metadata to make it less discoverable in online searches. Social media posts (text, video, or other) or other items published outside of are not deleted.