Welcome to the IcARUS Research Overview, an interactive tool that allows you to explore the key findings from 35 years of accumulated knowledge on urban security. The overview provides a headline synthesis of the key Trends, Tensions, Lessons and Knowledge Gaps in the field of urban security identified in the scholarly literature, from expert interviews and the accumulated knowledge base.
Particular emphasis is accorded to the lessons relating to the four IcARUS focus areas: preventing juvenile delinquency, preventing radicalisation leading to violent extremism, preventing and reducing trafficking and organised crime, and designing and managing safe public spaces.
The overview is based on the Report – Changing Face of Urban Security: A Review of Accumulated Learning compiled by the University of Leeds team (Deliverable 2.1 of the IcARUS project).
Multiple factors can lead young people to engage in crime and delinquent acts, including the social environment, individual development, lack of confidence in the future and experiences of marginalisation. As a vulnerable target group, local authorities need to develop comprehensive youth policies that promote social inclusion and avoid the social, economic and political marginalisation of children and young people. Instead of perceiving young people solely as potential danger to security, policy-makers should recognise them as drivers of social progress and include them in their crime prevention strategies and programmes.
Terrorism and extremist violence are significant contemporary security threats to European societies. Extremism takes a variety of forms that polarise opinion and damage social cohesion. To prevent local radicalisation processes that lead to violent extremism, local authorities need to foster social inclusion, youth participation and dialogue. A comprehensive local strategy to tackle radicalisation engages multiple local stakeholders, agencies and representatives of local communities.
Organised crime poses complex challenges to local authorities, especially with regard to the globally connected nature of some organised crime groups that operate and manifest themselves locally. The prevention and reduction of organised crime demands policies and practices that strengthen the capacities of local and regional authorities to collect data, monitor organised crime activities and intervene where appropriate to reduce the harm caused. In addition, information-sharing and cooperation processes between local regional and national authorities need to be accelerated. Comprehensive policies should focus on the empowerment of vulnerable communities that are susceptible to being targeted by organised crime. Local authorities need to develop strategies that promote a culture of legality, include initiatives representing multiple segments of society and reinforce relations between municipal institutions, local businesses and local citizens.
Public spaces are first and foremost spaces of coexistence, cohesion and a meeting point for different social groups and citizens in general. Well-designed and inclusive public spaces can match the everyday needs of their frequent and occasional users and promote social inclusion, integration and participation. Local authorities need to assess the potential vulnerabilities of urban public spaces linked to the emergence of conflict, insecurity or negative use of these urban areas. Mitigating such vulnerabilities requires an integrated approach that fosters the integration of minorities and vulnerable communities and renders places welcoming to diverse users.
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