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Research Theme at the Centre of Criminology

Urban Security

Achieving urban security for rapidly expanding populations in cities across the developing world is likely to be one of the pre-eminent challenges of our age. Insecurity and violence threaten enormous numbers of people across the world’s mega-cities, with those who bear the brunt of violence often the poorest and most marginalised.

City and national government responses are generally poorly funded, not well conceived, and seldom reliant on long-term research and analysis. Cape Town, like other major urban complexes around the developing world, faces multiple challenges, including improving levels of security for her residents. The city continues to experience a high level of violent crime and a long-term challenge with gang activity.

The Centre’s work draws on a long history of researching urban violence, crime and safety issues in Cape Town, as well as in other cities in South Africa. More recently, the Centre has broadened its expertise to focus on a wider set of urban experiences in the Global South, commissioning researchers from 10 cities across the world to analyse emerging trends and challenges and to strategise around effective solutions.

The Centre is focused both on theoretical and empirical work on urban security, seeking to ensure a rethink in approach and priorities by urban managers and police officials.




Berg, J. and S. Howell (2015) Running the Gauntlet: Police Strategies and Responses to Strike Action. In Hepple, B., Le Roux, R. and S. Sciarra (eds) Laws Against Strikes: The South African Experience in an International and Comparative Perspective. FrancoAngelli: Rome, pp. 185-204.

Nakueira, S. and J. Berg (2015) Innovations in the Governance of Security: Lessons from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.  In Albrecht, J., Dow, M., Plecas, D. and D. Das (eds) Policing Major Events: Perspectives from Around the World. CRC Press, pp. 60-73.

Berg, J. with C. Shearing (2015) New Authorities: Relating State and Non-state Security Auspices in South African Improvement Districts.  In Albrecht, P. and H. Kyed (eds) Policing and the Politics of Order-making. Oxon and New York: Routledge, pp. 91-107.

 Berg, J., Nakueira, S. and C. Shearing (2014) Global Non-state Auspices of Security Governance.  In Arrigo, B. and H. Bersot (eds) The Routledge Handbook of International Crime and Justice StudiesOxon: Routledge, pp. 77-97.

Diphoorn, T. and J. Berg (2014) ‘Typologies of Partnership Policing: Case Studies from Urban South Africa’, Policing & Society, 24(4):425-442.