Margin Project (Horizon 2020): Knowledge-Based Approaches to Reduce Urban Insecurity

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 14:15
Location: Hörsaal 46 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Riccardo VALENTE, University of Barcelona, Spain
Lucrezia CRESCENZI, University of Central Catalonia (UVic-UCC), Spain
Marta LOPEZ COSTA, University of Barcelona, Spain
When the economic recession began in 2008, there was expectation among public authorities and scholars that crime would increase. Up-to-date criminological sources show that this has clearly not happened. Nevertheless, findings from EU-funded social sciences and humanities research projects on crime and deviance outline a paradox: while crime is decreasing, people feel more insecure. The correspondence between perceptions and reality is frequently imperfect given that insecurity may be affected by several factors (i.e. individual factors, mass media, personal experiences with crime and other individual and/or contextual factors). This heterogeneity may explain why, despite victimization being a relatively infrequent event, so many people are concerned about crime-related issues.

Assuming that fear of crime and perceived insecurity are clearly different topics, the MARGIN project (Tackle Insecurity in Marginalized Areas), coordinated by the University of Barcelona and funded by the European Union under the Horizon 2020 Programme, offers a comparative analysis among five countries (Spain, Italy, France, Hungary and the UK) enabling a comprehensive analysis of crime-related issues while considering contextual factors. The underlying assumption here is that public perceptions of insecurity can be explained by different socio-economic and socio-geographic conditions that affect subjective perception. With this in mind, the MARGIN project addresses four key dimensions of insecurity:

  • The objective dimension focused on actual crime spread;
  • The subjective dimension related to cognitive aspects such as fear of crime or perceived risks;
  • The socio-geographic dimension referring to neighbourhood characteristics that have effects on the perception of insecurity;
  • The socio-economic dimension referring to the social consequences of poverty and deprived living conditions on ontological security.

After five months of work, the consortium carried out a comparative analysis of two different sources (i.e. police recorded crime statistics and survey-based victimization data), which allowed for identifying key factors that have been proved to be drivers of insecurity.