- 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.