Safer Cities


Urbanization, particularly in the developing world, has been accompanied by increased levels of crime, violence and lawlessness. The growing violence and feeling of insecurity that city dwellers are facing daily is one of the major challenges around the world. In some countries, crime and violence have been exacerbated by the proliferation of weapons, substance abuse and youth unemployment. Global studies show that 60% of all urban residents in developing countries have been victims of crime, at least once over the past five years, 70% of them in Latin America and Africa. Without a deliberate effort to address this situation, the prospects
of future development and poverty reduction are limited.

Crime and violence have impacts on the everyday life of city residents. Women and children are often the most affected, especially when fear hinders their access to services. The impacts of crime and insecurity restrict urban social and economic development, and often jeopardize opportunities and pro-poor policies. With twenty-three years of experience, the Safer Cities programme has implemented effective urban safety programmes in 77 cities and towns in 24 countries around the world. The approach embraces a more holistic and participatory solution to reduce or prevent crime and violence. It supports cities and towns in adopting city-wide urban safety strategies and action plans, building on socially inclusive and participatory approaches that contribute to a safer and just city for all.

Over the past 23 years, the programme has implemented effective urban safety and security programmes in 77 cities and towns in 24 countries.

“We commit ourselves to promoting safe, inclusive, accessible, green and quality public spaces, including streets, sidewalks and cycling lanes, squares, waterfront areas, gardens and parks, that are multifunctional areas designed and managed to ensure social interaction, human development, building peaceful and democratic societies and promoting cultural diversity.

We reaffirm the central role of inclusive public space in reducing social and spatial inequalities across urban areas (formal and informal) and that public spaces have positive impacts on health and well-being.”

Related Links

Safer Cities Programme

Related Publications

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