Fight against urban crime is focus at UN-backed conference
With crime and violence constituting one of the most significant causes of fear and insecurity in many cities today, over 600 delegates from 42 countries are meeting at a United Nations-backed conference in the Mexican city of Monterrey this week to discuss just what to do about it.
“The inexorable transition to a predominantly urban planet bears with it many opportunities and consequences,” UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Cecilia Leal Martinez told the opening session of the five-day meeting on Monday.
“It can be a promising transition to economic growth, improved education and health, cultural and scientific progress. But it can also bring with it greater divide between the rich and the poor, and unsustainable, chaotic patters of urban development that exacerbate urban exclusion and threaten urban environment,” she said in the keynote speech.
The conference has set out to develop an international framework to support cities and stakeholders in addressing violence in an urban development perspective. Between 1990 and 2000, incidents of violent crime per 100,000 persons increased from 6 to 8.8.
“Clearly, crime, whether violent or not, is a growing and serious threat to urban safety all over the world,” said UN-HABITAT, which is mandated by the General Assembly to promote socially and environmentally sustainable towns and cities with the goal of providing adequate shelter for all. “The threats to urban safety pose a huge challenge to both national and city governments.”
The conference brings together representatives from government, local authorities, law enforcers, civil society organisations including youth organisations, academic experts, the private sector and international organisations.