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Improving participatory urban policing and quality of life in unplanned neighborhoods in West Africa
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Project description

UN-HABITAT, through its Regional Office for Africa and Arab States (ROAAS) and the Safer Cities Programme, supports the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, which acknowledges the responsibility of local authorities and Police in crime prevention through the Police Platform for Urban Development (PPUD). The aim of the PPUD is to support and facilitate dialogue between the Police and other urban development actors, particularly decision makers and key stakeholder groups, including youth and women, to enhance the co-production of security through the reduction of social and situational factors of crime, violence and fear of insecurity.
Location: Lagos, Abidjan and Ouagadougou
- Regional Office for Arab States
Partner: Local Governments Associations in selected countries, Economic Commission for Western Africa, Africa Union, UNECA, UNODC and UNITAR)
- Safe cities
Budget: USD 600,000

Focus Area(s)

- FA2: Promotion of participatory urban planning, management and governance


Global trends indicate that crime rates have been on the increase. In the last 20 years total recorded crimes increased from 2300 to 3000 crimes for every 100,000 people. While total crimes rates significantly reduced in North America and Western Europe, it has increased in Eastern Europe and Africa. Urban areas suffer extreme rates of crime and violence which are further triggered by the rapid growth of unplanned urban cities, mismanagement of urban development resources and ineffective partnership between authorities and communities to strengthen and sustain participatory urban growth. A recent study has shown that 60 percent of urban dwellers in developing countries have been victims of crime over a five year period with victimization reaching 70 percent in Africa. Urban settings are more affected by consequences of crime and violence than rural areas where the social organization and cohesion remain stronger. Cities like Lagos, Abidjan and Ouagadougou account for a large proportion of their nation’s crime such as pick pocketing, burglaries, armed robberies, carjacking, and vehicle thefts. The frequencies of these offences vary differently according the type and characteristics of places. In the last seven years, due to political instability and increase of circulation of small arms and light weapon, Cote d’Ivoire has seen an increase in crime and armed robberies of armored vehicles delivering money to banks. Burkina Faso is becoming a high crime threat country. Due to its geographic location, it is a transit point for criminals, weapons and illegal drugs. Street crime is pervasive in its major cities. Similarly indiscriminate violent crime is common throughout Nigeria. Kidnappings, murder, carjacking, armed robberies in residential homes all take place throughout the country. Residents in these cities and countries have had to correspondingly deal with increasing levels of violence against women (VAW), youth involvement in crime and child abuse in public places. Local authorities and Police authorities in the cities above agree that urban violence not only creates a feeling of insecurity among inhabitants but tears the social fabric of cities, creating a climate of mistrust between Police and communities, eroding the ability of the poor to build assets and social capital, jeopardizing democratic stability and slowing down efforts for sustainable urban development. These challenges cannot be tackled by national governments alone. In urban areas, city governments and Police authorities have a key role to play in creating and leading strong coalitions to mobilize communities in order to develop and implement sustainable, just and effective strategies for safer cities for all. Such coalitions would work together for the necessary law enforcement actions but more importantly the respect of public orders norms to promote smarter and participatory policing practices. These efforts understand some of the deeper factors which create crime in the first place – weak social bonds between residents. Greater attention should be paid to the social, economic and environmental conditions affecting different areas so as to increase the safety of women and reduce the exclusion of young people.


  • Provide Police, local governments and community organizations with advocacy strategy and tools as well as facility to implement pilot initiatives to improve dialogue and build trust with the aim to increase participatory urban policing and quality of life in unplanned neighborhoods in West Africa (Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria).

Target Group

  • Neighborhoods in West Africa (Burkina-Faso, Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria).





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