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From: "Small Arms Survey" <n...@smallarmssurvey.org>
Date: 17 Oct 2016 18:35
Subject: Reducing urban insecurity
To: "Jean-Francois" <elisabethjana...@gmail.com>

*Reducing urban insecurity*
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Reducing urban insecurity

As states gather in Quito for the United Nations Conference on Housing and
Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) on 17–20 October 2016, the
majority of the world’s population resides in urban centres
Cities are also at the crossroads of several global policy agendas,
including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit
the Sendai Disaster Risk Reduction Framework 2015–2030
the New Urban Agenda

Ensuring the safety and security of urban residents is a common concern of
these global agendas. Implementing them effectively will require working
across sectors, enhancing planning, design, and management of urbanization,
and formulating policies that favour participation and social inclusion.

*Urban security: what do we know?*

Cities have taken centre stage with respect to population growth,
employment, and economic activity. They are also of strategic importance
regarding the access to resources, power, and economic gain. As a
consequence, cities can be disproportionately affected by insecurity and
violence, be it in conflict or non-conflict settings.

Urban insecurity takes many forms, from gang violence and organized crime,
to community or political violence, to interpersonal and domestic violence. In
Mexico, urban violence claims a disproportionate number of lives: the 28
municipalities with the highest homicide rates accounted for almost half
(44 per cent) of all killings in 2012, even though they represented only 13
per cent of the national population

Risk factors for urban insecurity include rapid and unruly urbanization,
especially when accompanied by high social and economic inequality, and
power vacuums in which political, ethnic, and criminal groups compete for
control of resources and power. Karachi, Pakistan, is a case in point: in
the years leading up to 2013, the city witnessed a steady rise in lethal
violence (see Figure 1). This increase has been partially attributed to
rapid and uncontrolled urbanization and political tensions. Starting in
2014, the security sector responded with sweeping crackdowns on suspected
criminals; by 2015, levels of violent deaths had dropped by more than 60
per cent, but the figures seem to have levelled out in the first half of

*Figure 1 Number of violent deaths in Karachi, Pakistan, 2010–15*

Source: Small Arms Survey Database on Violent Deaths

The availability of firearms also represents a key risk factor in some
urban areas, such as Chicago. The use of firearms in homicides is
particularly elevated in Chicago compared to the US national average. In
January–August 2016, 425 people were fatally shot—‘accounting for 91% of
the total murders in the city’—a substantial increase compared to 2015,
when 86 per cent of homicides (424 of 493) involved the use of firearms
These rates significantly exceed the US national rate for 2010–15, during
which an average of 69 per cent of homicides were committed with firearms
(Small Arms Survey Database on Violent Deaths).

*The way forward*

The New Urban Agenda recognizes safety as a prerequisite for, and an
integral part of, the global vision for tomorrow’s cities and human
settlements. Specifically, the Agenda encourages the implementation of
measures for urban safety, and crime and violence prevention
These types of measures can include community policing and other violence
reduction programming
As victims and perpetrators of violent crime tend to be young and male,
these populations could usefully be involved in the design of such

Comprehensive data can allow for accurate diagnoses of security risk
factors, the formulation of effective urban violence-prevention and
-reduction policies, and consistent impact monitoring. In this context, the
New Urban Agenda calls for ‘geographically-based, community-collected,
high-quality, timely and reliable data’, while emphasizing science-policy
interfaces and participatory data platforms

To ensure that data on crime and violence is comparable, data-collecting
bodies and organizations—primarily law enforcement and public health
agencies—should ensure they apply the same district boundaries and
standards for geographic disaggregation. Meaningful analysis of such data
also requires adequate population data

Data that is disaggregated by location, type of crime, date and time,
demographic characteristics of victims and perpetrators, weapons used, and
community assets (such as the distribution of police stations and
hospitals) allows for spatial data analysis. Geospatial mapping can be used
in identifying risk factors and directing resources to the most-affected
areas. In the case of Chicago, such mapping highlights that the city’s
South, Far South, and West Sides not only report the highest murder rates,
but also contain the most segregated neighbourhoods
(see Figure 2).

*  Figure 2 Distribution of homicide by community area and segregation
level by census block, Chicago, 2015
Source: Fessenden and Park (2016)

By combining the latest knowledge on risk factors, lessons learned by other
cities that have reduced insecurity, and reliable data on the particular
issues they face, cities have the ability to design policies that will make
urban residents safer and their communities more inclusive.

To access the complete list of references cited in this eAlert, click here

*Useful resources*

Frost, Emilia and Matthias Nowak. 2014. ‘Inclusive Security, Inclusive
Policy Paper 1. Geneva: Geneva Declaration Secretariat. March.

Geneva Declaration Secretariat. 2015. *Global Burden of Armed Violence
2015: Every Body Counts
*Geneva: Geneva Declaration Secretariat.

Jütersonke, Oliver and Hannah Dönges. 2015. ‘Digging for Trouble: Violence
and Frontier Urbanization
*Small Arms Survey 2015: Weapons and the World. *Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, pp. 36–57.

Lyew-Ayee, Parris and Lisa-Gaye Greene. 2013. ‘Geospatial Technologies and
Crime: The Jamaican Experience
Issue Brief 3. Geneva: Small Arms Survey. October.

Nowak, Matthias. 2012. ‘Urban Armed Violence
Research Note 23. Geneva: Small Arms Survey. November.

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The damaged window of a bank following violent protests in Rio de Janeiro,
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