Welcome to The IcARUS Project
The Innovative AppRoaches to Urban Security (IcARUS) project promotes coordinated and integrated strategies and forward-thinking solutions to address delinquency and crime at the local level in European countries.
The main objective of the project is to provide local authorities and urban security practitioners with an approach that comprises preventive, evidence-based and sustainable measures to counter the causes and effects of criminality. IcARUS will deliver concrete outcomes involving reviewed and adapted practices as well as refined tools that are applicable to specific local contexts. By designing custom-made technologically and socially innovative methods and tools, IcARUS will strengthen the capacities of local authorities to anticipate and better respond to emerging security challenges.
At the beginning of the project, a state-of-the-art review of policies and methods in the field of urban security within the last
30 years will be conducted on four areas that local authorities have identified as their major security challenges:
- Preventing juvenile delinquency
Juvenile delinquency poses a significant concern for policy makers as well as for society as a whole. Multiple factors can lead young people to engage in delinquency/delinquent acts, such as the social environment, individual development, lack of confidence in the future and feelings of marginalisation. As young people constitute a vulnerable target group, local authorities have to develop comprehensive policies that promote social inclusion and avoid the social, economic and political marginalisation of youth. Instead of perceiving young people solely as potential danger to security, policy makers need to recognize them as drivers of social progress and thus include them in their crime prevention strategies. IcARUS will focus on innovative approaches to prevent juvenile delinquency that foster inter-generational dialogue and enhance social inclusion of young people.
- Preventing radicalisation leading to violent extremism
Terrorism and extremist violence are a significant security threat to European countries. Tackling radicalisation at the local level requires assessing of its causes and risk factors as well as analysing local threats and potential vulnerabilities within communities. In order to prevent local radicalisation processes that lead to violent extremism, local authorities need to foster social inclusion, youth participation and dialogue. Therefore, a comprehensive local strategy to tackle radicalisation engages multiple local stakeholders, agencies and representatives of local communities
- Designing and managing safe public spaces
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 needs of their everyday and one-time 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.
- Preventing and reducing trafficking and organised crime at the local level
Organised crime poses a complex challenge to local authorities, especially with regard to the globally connected nature of organised crime groups that operate and manifest themselves locally. As organised crime is constantly transforming, it is crucial for local authorities to understand how organised crime-type associations can also emerge in non-traditional areas. The prevention and reduction of organised crime demands policies and practices that strengthen the capacities of local and regional authorities to collect data and monitor organised crime activities. In addition, information-sharing and cooperation processes between local regional and national authorities must 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.
These focus areas will also be examined in the light of four cross-cutting issues of: governance and diversification of actors, technological change, gender approaches, as well as internationalisation and cross border issues.
Practices and tools that respond to each of these focus areas will be revised, designed and adapted as well as implemented, tested and evaluated in six European cities.
Following this, concrete practices and tools will be selected, (re-)designed and adapted through an iterative and collective process of testing, implementation and evaluation. This will ensure that the tools are effective and meet the collective needs of citizens. The cities of Lisbon, Nice, Riga, Rotterdam, Stuttgart and Turin will be involved in all stages of the project, providing their perspective and knowledge as co-producers and end-users of all tools and practices.
The consortium is coordinated by Efus and comprises six European cities, universities and research institutions, and civil society and private sector organisations. Thus, the IcARUS project strengthens the link between academic knowledge and crime prevention practices and promotes the co-production of integrated strategies for urban security policies.
Context of the IcARUS project
The IcARUS project stresses the necessity of a multi-level and multi-stakeholder approach to the development and implementation of urban security policies. It also addresses the need to develop socially and technologically innovative solutions to emerging urban security challenges in the context of three broader challenges:
- The decline of confidence in public institutions and public policies
Several factors have contributed to increasing distrust of national governments and EU institutions, but economic conditions linked to austerity programmes, high unemployment rates, globalisation and technological change in particular have all had an impact on people’s confidence in public institutions. To reverse this trend, policy makers will have to respond with integrated approaches fostering inclusive and secure environments for citizens and society as a whole. The development of comprehensive security strategies involves the consideration of its human, social and societal aspects, as well as the enhanced promotion of citizen participation.
Local authorities are particularly well placed to play a key role in coordinating local public policies that take into account all relevant stakeholders, and to adopt strategies that are centred around the collective needs of citizens.
- Drastic cuts in public funds that reduce the resources to implement public policies
Contemporary budget restrictions demand new solutions to societal challenges that include cross-disciplinary and inter-institutional approaches through knowledge, resource and asset sharing. In particular, the adoption of prevention strategies to tackle the causes and effects of crime has a cost-effective impact.
- The increasing interconnected nature of cities (smart cities)
In light of the major technological transformation in our societies, law enforcement agencies and policy makers need to adapt to digital and communication innovations and attentively integrate them into their
strategies. Even though they can also be used for criminal or malevolent aims, new technologies provide exciting opportunities to meet citizens’ demands and needs, not only with regard to social policies, but also in the area of safety and security. The adoption of smart-governance solutions and socially innovative methods are key components of integrated urban security policies.
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