Most large European cities are increasingly confronted with street violence caused by urban youth groups. These groups are often responsible for large share of the total of offences and violence. Also, they create a feeling of insecurity among the population. On the other hand, these groups are themselves quite likely to be victim of crime.
While this phenomenon has been for a long time restricted to some specific urban neighbourhoods, it is now increasingly visible in other parts of cities such as shopping malls, train stations and central areas.
In response to this form of street violence, a number of cities have put in place prevention programmes. However, the feedback from these experiences, local policies and practices is not always well known. The same goes for insights gained through academic research. Indeed, the knowlegde and know-how on this issue constitutes a pool of ideas and suggestions (thereafter called “recommendations”) that is currently largely untapped because scattered, not easily accessible and not widely spread.
The “EU Reco Street Violence” project aims at capitalising the knowledge on this topic from various sources, and making it accessible to practitioners, policy makers and researchers. It aims at collecting recommendations on street violence caused by urban youth groups and at organising this information in an online database.
A European Partnership
The project is carried out by the European Forum for Urban Security (Efus) and supported by the French Forum for Urban Security (FFSU) with its partners from the Belgian Forum for Prevention and Urban Security (FBPSU), the Spanish Forum for Prevention and Urban Security (FEPSU), the Emilia Romagna Region (Italy), the National Community Safety Network (NCSN, UK) and Psytel, a French non-profit knowledge engineering company. While the European Forum, the national Forums and their partners gather knowledge, Psytel contributes with its expertise on information management. It will develop the online database, which is the key outcome of the project.
This partnership uniting several European networks of cities (in France, Belgium, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom and through Efus’ pan-European network) and Psytel is the basis for a newly created Europe-wide network working for the prevention of street violence.
An online database
The database will make the knowledge on street violence available to:
- Field actors involved at the local level (mainly city level) or central State level in the implementation of prevention programmes focusing on street violence caused by urban youth groups;
- Local decision makers and politicians deciding whether or not to implement a particular programme;
- Experts involved in diverse projects at local, national or European levels;
- Researchers in the field of urban safety and sociology;
- European policy makers.
Ultimately, the project’s goal is to benefit the young urban population and more generally the population of urban areas by enhancing knowledge and updating recommendations in order to create policy guidelines and effective prevention programmes.
A 24-month work programme on street violence
The main activities of the project will be:
- A primary research phase aimed at collecting a vast amount of recommendations from local experiences, academic studies and policy lines in France, Belgium, Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom and other countries;
- To develop the “EU Reco Street Violence” database by identifying relevant recommendations and organising this information in a user-friendly manner. The database will have an online interrogation tool specifically designed for the target groups of the project. It will be easily accessible online;
- To conduct scientific analysis and comparison of the information included in the database, and to invite the experts involved in the project to give their views and conclusions;
- To disseminate the results of this research and analysis to a wide audience through a European conference and the final publication of the project.
Publication, conferences and seminars
The main outputs and deliverables of the project will be :
- A European conference where delegates will be able to debate, share best local practices and attend the presentations of experts on the findings of the research phase of the project. The conclusions of the conference will be included in the final publication;
- The final publication will include scientific findings, practical guidelines and political recommendations for future action. A separate user manual will be published, linked to the contents of the online database.