Interdisciplinary network for safe public spaces

Säkra platser KTH, Stockholm, Sweden

SDG 5: Gender equalitySDG 10: Reduced inequalitiesSDG 11: Sustainable cities and communitiesSDG 16: Peace justice and strong institutionsSDG 17: Partnerships for the goals
Säkra platser (Safe places) is an interdisciplinary research network that links local needs, knowledge in situational crime prevention, and relevant national and international experts and institutions. The network is connected to KTH, The Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. With support from the National Council of Crime Prevention (BRÅ), a number of initiatives have been created with a focus on information sharing and development of preventive solutions



Security is an inherent quality of cities. We expect from cities to provide secure places, but also places of vitality, attractiveness and diversity, often a result from a wide range of people coming together, for different purposes. These characteristics of a city is its qualities and are often the reason why more and more people live in urban areas.Yet, the world has witnessed growing threats to the essential nature of cities. Whether it is the ‘old’ threats, such as becoming a victim of crime or ‘newer’ ones such as terrorism, natural catastrophes or other types of harm, the contemporary order demands news ways to cope with and respond to risks and fears in everyday life. A complex and wide range of knowledge supply must be in place to tackle threats in society that disable communities and affect people’s lives.

Good practices & solutions

Much of the new knowledge in situational crime prevention remains limited to universities and research institutes.
A key aim of this network is to engage academics, safety experts, police officers and practitioners of different fields in knowledge creation, exchange and diffusion by providing a one-stop information hub for situational crime prevention in Sweden. KTH provides an outstanding platform for in a methodologically strong research environment with professionals who work interdisciplinary.

Outcome & opportunities

The activities of the network have resulted in a gathered knowledge body around safety. Key messages include: (1) Safety is a human right, to feel free from risk and fear of danger is crucial for all human beings and is a pre-condition for modern societies. (2) A safe environment enables the fulfillment of the most basic individual needs, a safe dwelling and a secure urban environment that allow free movement. Understanding of the situational conditions of crime. (3) crime does not occur in a vacuum. It happens in particular places and times. If the conditions in which crime occurs can be tackled, the overall safety conditions of a place will improve. This requires knowledge that is context-based. (4) Urban and rural environments are not exposed to crime in the same way. New realities demand new methodological challenges. (5) Safety is intersectional. There is a need to investigate intersectional victimization and in poor perceived safety. Knowledge on how, when, and why gender intersects with age, class, and ethnic belonging, which together may result in multiple dimensions of disadvantage, victimization, and poor perceived safety.

Lessons learned & recommendations

KTH provides an platform for in a methodologically strong research environment with professionals who work interdisciplinary. Ensuring safety is not a task for a single discipline or stakeholder. Decreasing crime and improving safety conditions demands knowledge from a wide array of research disciplines: criminology, sociology, psychology but also geography, architecture and planning, statistics, engineering and computer science. Safety depends on the coordinated cooperation of multiple societal stakeholders working towards collaborative frameworks to prevent crime and promote perceived safety. Or, translational criminology – If we want to prevent, reduce and manage crime, we must be able to translate scientific findings into policy and practice. Practitioners in the field describe challenges they face in their jobs every day, but scientists also discover new tools and ideas to overcome these challenges and evaluate their impacts. This process recognizes that successful dissemination of research findings may require multiple strategies.

Related SDG targets
Further reading

Photo: Johannes Wredenmark on Unsplash

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