Research & Innovation 2015-16 - Page 53



Feature
which pulls together research from 10 cities from around
the world, argues that the global flow of ideas, illicit
products and other commodities has an enormous
impact on the security of cities. In order to respond
to this global challenge, policymakers first need to
understand the ecosystem of these global flows and
how they interconnect with the local situation; and then
respond strategically and holistically, through a safety
governance approach.
“Cities that fail will mean a global community that fails,”
reads the opening paragraph of the report. Currently,
more than 54% of the world’s population live in cities,
and urban populations are expected to grow at a rate
of 1.5% to 2.0% a year. What this means in practice
is that unsafe cities will constrain the life chances of
millions of people around the world, says Professor Mark
Shaw, director of the Centre for Criminology and DST/
NRF SARChlChair in Security and Justice, who led this
research project. But law enforcement strategies alone
will not ensure the safety of those cities. Instead, Shaw
stresses inclusion as the central concept.
Including marginalised groups
“It is those same people who are disconnected from
the global economy who are most likely to be linked
to its dystopian side. Law-enforcement interventions
will only exclude them further,” says Shaw. The core
challenge then for cities is to ensure, through spatial
planning, the provision of services and a constant
process of engagement, so that all citizens of a
society are drawn as far as possible into its benefits.
Organised crime groups cannot easily take root
in areas where governance is strong and society
is robust; but where the state is weak or absent,
the space is opened up for criminal groups to gain
traction.
When these criminal networks fill the space left
by weak governance, local communities and
individuals may come to view them as an alternative
to legitimate government. When this happens, the
criminal networks generate legitimacy and loyalty
from the local population. In these cases, use of force
may well exacerbate violence and further alienate
affected communities from the
legitimate state and broader
society.
Safety
governance
The safety
governance
approach,
proposed in
the report,
thus seeks
to enhance
the well-being
of people and
communities
through appropriate
management and
allocation of resources
across a city. The proposed
approach encapsulates better
regulation of legal activities in which criminal
activities often take hold, such as in bars, nightclubs
and hotels (for sex trafficking); better communitydriven law enforcement, which upholds human rights
and the rule of law; greater engagement by city
officials with all groups in society; and innovative
thinking by policymakers, to reduce vulnerability and
build resilience within the fragile communities of a
city. The result of the safety governance approach
is that all members of society benefit from the
economic and social development of a city.
By Natalie Simon. Image by Deutsche Gesellschaft
für Internationale Zusammenarbeit, Violence and
Crime Prevention.
The consolidation of criminal networks
Homicide rates are a key indicator of levels of violence in a society, and can be used to measure the extent to which
criminal groups are consolidating power.
Cape Town has a very high murder rate, 65 per 100 000 people (compared to Johannesburg’s 33 per 100 000 and
Tshwane’s 19), partly because there is a process of consolidation by criminal networks happening in Cape Town.
One example is the illegal abalone trade. Chinese triads partner with gangs to trade abalone for tik (a local form of
methamphetamine). These partnerships are maintained with a high degree of violence as gangs compete for turf.
One way in which the Centre for Criminology monitors this consolidation is through the media. A local newspaper
may run a small story on two people being shot dead in a small town on the west coast; but researchers will
recognise the killing of a gang-leader or middle-level player as part of a greater war.
Zero hunger, sustainable cities and responsible consumption 48





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