Public places, collective challenges
Directorate-Genaeral of Internal Affairs Ministry of Internal Affairs Lisbon, Portugal
Crime prevention is both a serious and challenging task that requests our best. It is a challenge for our social organization and for social institutions. For if it's sure that an effective prevention will not eradicate crime, it is also true that crime, if not prevented and tackled, could affect badly our social life.
Living (feeling) in safety could be the reachable utopia of this century, in a free and democratic Europe. Let us conceive of safety as encompassing citizens' rights to be free from crime and the fear of crime, as well as their being protected against flood, fire, disease or injurious places changes. Let as also conceive of crime prevention as a "pattern of attitudes and behaviour directed both at reducing the threat of crime and enhancing the sense of safety and security, to positively influence the quality of life in our society and to help develop environments where crime or other anti-social behaviour" cannot flourish? This is the definition of crime prevention proposed by the US National Crime Prevention Council in 1997.
The paper intends to present some data collection on crimes reported to Portuguese law enforcement authorities, related to what we have been calling "street criminality". The analysis concerns all the municipalities with more than 50.000 inhabitants and in which exist cities with, at least, 10.000 residents.
Some cross national comparisons are made, intending to discuss the concept of anti-sociality urban pattern, consisting on widespread anti-social behaviours, related not only with socio-ecological determinants, but also with the globalization of the urban sprawl.
The meaning of such urban phenomena and impact in the Southern European cities and its public places is discussed.