Urban security is a challenging issue for citizens all over Europe nowadays. All local governments are expected to take care of their communities, no matter where they are located. Feeling secure is key and needs to be fostered by enhancing the sense of belonging and the social capital of communities and neighborhoods.
Local authorities - all local authorities - play a crucial role in prevention but they cannot help to consider that crime prevention and fight is a wider competence of National Governments. Neither should they overlook the use of ICT for surveillance and collecting data as well as the involvement of citizens for a better sense of belonging.
Integrated governance, technology and citizens engagement should then be considered as synergetic aspects of a whole. Romagna Faentina has been working on this since 2015.
Romagna Faentina is an Italian union established between six neighbouring Municipalities in the Emilia-Romagna Region. The member Municipalities have decided to delegate all competences to the Union Board and Council, so we can consider an effective Local Urban Authority, capable to elaborate and implement strategies and integrated urban policies over an area which is not usually considered as a single one. As a matter of fact, the territory of the union is polycentric but it has a single governance. That is why it has been recognized as a small scale funcional urban area.
Building on this premises, Romagna Faentina has been developing some experience on integrated urban security. It is mainly focused on the use of ICT (video surveillance, data collection and analysis), citizens involvement (neighbourhood watch, participation, public-private partnerships) and cooperation with national police forces (data sharing and common CCTV network).
As a “natural” consequence, we applied to be member of the Urban Agenda for the EU Partnership on Security in Public Spaces. The main objective is to actively contribute to the elaboration of an integrated urban security policy at EU level. Consequently, we want to contribute to go beyond the overly simplistic definition of a city towards a more adequate definition of Urban Authority, representing the variety of local governments and to support horizontal and vertical cooperation with other relevant institutional actors (the so-called multilevel governance). Last but not least, mutual learning, exchange of experiences and cooperation on common projects are actions we are willing to develop in the Partnership.