Community safety approach

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The community safety approach[1] advocates a general shift in infrastructural, political, and public conceptions of security, from situational prevention to safety and security of a community as a whole. This requires a particular “multicultural sensibility for planning”, including how cultures “orient their actions,[... or] suggest how they might use formal planning processes.[2]

The community safety approach builds upon the approach of cultural criminology to combine material or artifactual aspects with social aspects of culture. It rests on the idea of making risks and threats visible and encouraging citizens to get involved in structural prevention. This is based on strengthened neighbourhoods and informal, social control. Urban planning and architecture naturally would have an important role to play in realizing such an approach.

Security-related aspects and benefits

  • Supports situational crime and terrorist prevention by using structural (e.g. designing out/designing in) measures;
  • Considers infrastructural aspects to reduce security threats;
  • Supports individual and community reaction to crime and terrorist threats;
  • Supports community response activities by facilitating response and emergency measures.

Approaches how to address it

- Consider infrastructural/structural requirements to safety and security;
- Consider political requirements to safety and security;
- Consider societal and community requirements to safety and security.
  • Include multicultural aspects and culturally related requirements;
  • Integrate citizen participation as a standard procedure in security related urban planning;
  • Consider prevention, mitigation and response aspects in urban planning project (see crisis management cycle).

Footnotes and references

  1. Matthews R., Pitts J. : Crime, Disorder and Community Safety. A New Agenda?. London/New York: Routledge, 2001.
  2. Baum H. S.: Culture Matters – But It Shouldn't Matter Too Much, in: Burayidi M. A. (ed.): Urban Planning in a Multicultural Society. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2000, 115.