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Urban Security


Cities hold out the promise of concentrated economic dynamism, predictable access to services, and opportunities for democratic citizenship. Urbanization is a transformative process to a large extent, synonymous with modernization, and development. In most cases, as countries urbanize they become more advanced, more developed and more prosperous.

Yet for hundreds of millions of people on the wrong side of the breach of urban poverty and exclusion, violence and insecurity have become facts of everyday life, denying them the benefits of the right to the city.

With good governance, poverty and other forms of exclusion can be seriously addressed and cities the urban advantage secured for all. The challenge for the next few decades is learning how to exploit the possibilities urbanization offers - the future of humanity depends on it. UNICRI’s focus is to explore and promote urban security in the context of crime prevention and criminal justice responses to urban crime, including gang-related offences. This is based on the recognition that urban criminality hampers economic growth and weakens state institutions, thereby undermining efforts to promote sustainable development and reduce poverty.

UNICRI is focusing its work on:

  • Reducing vulnerabilities, particularly crime and victimization related to youth, women and girls, elderly people and marginalized populations;
  • Enhancing Public-Private Partnerships focusing on crime prevention and control mechanisms which involve both criminal justice system and private sector actors; 
  • Promoting the rule of law and cultural change in corrupt and crime-ridden environments.

UNICRI assists in the development of integrated actions by bringing together various actors (social services and law enforcement) and leading joint efforts in the design and implementation of joint initiatives. The Institute also provides a sound base of knowledge on the functioning of criminal organizations by taking advantage of social, political, institutional and legal weaknesses.