- Empirical studies show that it is not the size of urban agglomerations that create criminal surroundings but rather the poor planning, design and management of urbanization.
- Studies have shown that a large percentage of urban dwellers in developing and transitional countries have been victims of crime over a five-year period, with victimisation rates reaching 70% in parts of Latin America and the Caribbean and Africa (UN-Habitat, 2007).
- Research points to inequalities (UN-Habitat, 2015), lack of institutional and social control and social exclusion (not poverty 1) as underlying causes of crime and violence in urban areas.
"I have lived most of my life in the Eastlands slum in Nairobi working as a garbage collector. For several years, I engaged in crime including carjacking and murder and was severally arrested by the police and kept in custody. But my life changed one day when I encountered UNHABITAT Safer Cities Programme that was holding a concert in my hood called “Looking to the East – a Safer City”. Involved in its activities, I begun changing my perception in the way I saw the society. My self-esteem increased and I started working closely with the City County of Nairobi on its Safer Nairobi Initiative to which I was introduced by UN-HABITAT. I am now seen as a role model to my community… many young people could not believe it was me whom they had seen as a gangster- leave alone the police who were very surprised but kept encouraging me. Formerly a gang member; self-confessed but now reformed, I have now dedicated my time to mobilizing youth, through positive action and community projects. I have now established a car garage, thanks to the Safer Cities approach that has given me a second chance in life."
Bernard Ongeso, 34, Ex-gang member, Nairobi
Related Sustainable Development Goals
Donors and partners
The success of UN-Habitat’s work on safety is dependent on successful partnerships, particularly with local authorities. Working on safety, UN-Habitat identifies and mobilises diverse local partners who can contribute to reducing insecurity. By creating local safety coalitions, UN-Habitat engages communities to take action towards security in their local area.