To improve individual and collective security, one needs an in-depth understanding of a given community. While quantitative crime statistics matter, understanding how different groups of population perceive the security situation is just as significant. Only by exploring subjective experiences of security, as well as socio-economic reality and levels of social cohesion, can security actors reconstruct a nuanced local security landscape.
With this in mind, the European Forum for Urban Security (Efus) has consistently advocated for carrying out security audits that take into dimension the subjective aspect of security, as a basis for further security interventions. Such an approach is also illustrated by the BeSecure-FeelSecure (BSFS) project (2019-2023), co-financed under the Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) and implemented in the City of Piraeus (Greece).
This session, followed by a Q&A, will explore how the project’s baseline assessment carried out in Piraeus, which is an integral part of the strategic approach to urban security and evidence-based policy making, can be replicated elsewhere. It will also inaugurate a series of web conferences that will present the BSFS experience with regards to social interventions, security governance, victim support, and innovative use of technology to improve social cohesion and reduce the sense of insecurity of the citizens.
In this session, we will discuss the following questions:
- How to conduct a baseline assessment to better understand the local security situation?
- What resources does one need to undertake it?
- What has the pandemic taught us when adapting the baseline assessment to the changed circumstances?
- How and why should one take into account citizens and different social groups’ subjective experiences of insecurity to create evidence-based urban security policies?
- What recommendations can we give to other local authorities seeking to conduct such an assessment, and what would be the main attention points?
- Eleni Kontopoulou
Eleni Kontopoulou is a postdoctoral researcher at Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences. She studied Law at the Democritus University of Thrace and obtained her Master’s Degree in Criminology from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (School of Law). She also holds a PhD in Criminology from the Department of Sociology of Panteion University. She teaches at the National Police Academy and as a “grant – holder” at the Department of Sociology of Panteion University. She works as a researcher in the framework of the EU co-financed BeSecure-FeelSecure Project (led by the City of Piraeus) and the Icarus Project (led by Efus) as well as the UrbanCrime Project on urban safety issues.
- Angelos Mimis
Angelos Mimis is an Associate Professor in Applied Informatics in Spatial Analysis in the Department of Economic and Regional Development at Panteion University. He will provide a step-by-step explanation on how the baseline assessment was conducted at Piraeus and will share his insights on the main challenges local actors shall pay attention to when engaging in this process.
- Mateja Mihinjac
Mateja Mihinjac is a criminologist and researcher from Slovenia currently completing doctoral research at Griffith University, Australia. Her thesis looks into the implementation of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED). Mateja is certified in the SafeGrowth® method for neighbourhood safety planning and has co-taught SafeGrowth® workshops in Australia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand and across the United States. She is a European partner of AlterNation, a consulting company that created SafeGrowth®. She also provides research and consulting services in criminology, crime prevention and crime analysis with a focus on CPTED.
She has studied criminal justice issues in Europe and Australia since 2009. She worked in the Constitutional Court in Slovenia and has extensive computer and analytical skills including database management and geographic information systems (GIS). She is an active member and Executive Director at the International CPTED Association (ICA) where she also manages the professional CPTED certification programme.
- Barbara Holtmann
Director, Fixed Africa (South Africa)