1. General Information :
Population: 86 616
Location: Flemish Region, Province of Antwerp
First security contract signed in 1995, latest in 2020 (strategic security and prevention plan)
Twinned with: Helmond (NL)
Mechelen is located in the middle between Antwerp (25km to the north) and Brussels (25 km to the south). Mechelen, one of the bigger Flemish cities, has also one of the most ‘superdiverse’ communities. More than 130 nationalities live together speaking about 70 different languages.
In 2000 the results of the crime victim survey showed that about 25% of all inhabitants felt always or often insecure in the city. This was one of the highest rates in Belgium. In 2018 the feeling of insecurity (always and often) dropped to 4.5 % and was even lower than the Belgian average of 6%. In 2002 Mechelen was by far the dirtiest city of Flanders. In 2017 it was the cleanest of all 13 Flemish cities. A lot effort was put in the change of the city:
“Fifteen years ago Mechelen had a very bad reputation. Polarisation was high and over 30% of the people voted extreme right. We had one of the highest criminality rates at that time, middle class families fled the city and deprivation was high. Nowadays, Mechelen is considered as one of the reference point cities in Flanders. The appreciation for the integration policy is one of the highest in the country and the extreme right has less than 8% of the votes. The overall culture has changed and there is a growing openness towards each other.”*
More than 80% of the inhabitants say they are proud to live in Mechelen. According to the Financial Times, Mechelen is one of 10 micro European cities of the future.
* SOMERS, B., The Mechelen Model: an inclusive city, in: Local examples and best practices, Colecciòn Monografías, CIDOB, 2017, p. 57.
2. The city in our network :
The city and the Efus:
Member since: 2020
Member of the European Urban Agenda
- 16/04/2020 – Webconference: Will social distancing aggravate polarisation?
- 14/04/2020 – Webconference: How to respond to the increase of domestic violence?
- 09/10/2019 – Presentation testimony city of Mechelen in Workshop “urban agenda for security in public spaces” (Week of the Regions)
- 26/02/2019 – EU Cities against Radicalisation
- 2019 -2020 – 5 meetings Urban Agenda partnership on security in public spaces
- 25/01/2019 – URBAN AGENDA Kick-off meeting
3. The City and the National Forum (BFVPS):
Member of the Executive Committee: no
- Stuurgroep Trefdag “Lokale synergie tussen veiligheidsberoepen” /Comité de pilotage Journée d’étude “Synergie locale entre métiers de la sécurité” – IBZ & Urbansecurity
- Merkenworkshop Belgisch Forum voor preventie en veiligheid steden
- Several conferences and network events organised by Belgian’s national forum
- Nationaal netwerk “preventie, veiligheid en samenleving”/Forum Belge : Réseau national “prévention, sécurité et vivre ensemble” (22/01/2020)
- FBPSU/BFPVS : 1ère Journée sur le partage responsable de l’espace public : diagnostic/1ste studiedag over het verantwoord delen van de openbare ruimte : 1 diagnose
4. Further information :
NGOs or third parties working for crime prevention:
- CEAPIRE: Prevention and Intervention of Radicalism and Extremism
- J@m: organizes leisure activities for children and teenagers who have fewer social opportunities to develop themselves. Educational and recreational activities provide a motivating basis for social participation and involvement. Children and teenagers who are ready are guided to other facilities, such as sports clubs, regular youth work, …
- ROJM: an educating youth house, supported by the city, that gives structure to youngsters. Their projects are very approachable and focus on preparing for the job market.
- De Sleutel: Day center De Sleutel Mechelen is an ambulatory orientation and treatment center, expert in treating drug problems. They work in a change-oriented way based on the trans-theoretical phase model and motivational conversation. They are therefore targeting people who use illegal drugs (possibly in combination with alcohol or medication) and who strive for growth and change.
- The Centre for Mental Health Care De Pont guides and treats people and their environment who have serious mental problems and for whom help from the environment and primary care (GP, social services, etc.) appears to be insufficient. With a specialized team of psychologists, psychiatrists, speech therapists and social workers, they offer affordable and responsible mental health care.
- Transition House: small-scale project in which prisoners are prepared for life after prison. The transition house is intended to facilitate the reintegration of prisoners into society. G4S Care, the care department of the safety firm G4S, and Exodus Nederland use specialists to guide the detainees and to operate the transition house.
- Family Justice Center: The Family Justice Center (FJC) Mechelen helps families when it comes to domestic violence. The FJC works quickly, adequately and in a demand-oriented manner, thus creating safety within the family. The FJC is a regional partnership and provides a link between the various partners (aid and services, police, prosecution and administration) and the client.
- Community guards in Mechelen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZ3nZsJDqqg
- Alderman Labsir about ‘his’ Mechelen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OntA0i9LJX8
- Bart Somers on The Mechelen Model: https://www.cidob.org/en/articulos/monografias/resilient_cities/the_mechelen_model_an_inclusive_city
- UNODC study visit to Mechelen: https://www.unodc.org/middleeastandnorthafrica/en/web-stories/unity-in-diversity_-iraqi-officials-study-visit-to-mechelen-belgium.html
- Mechelen Declaration on Cities and Migration (IOM): https://www.iom.int/sites/default/files/press_release/file/Mechelen-Declaration-final.pdf or https://diplomatie.belgium.be/en/newsroom/news/2017/global_conference_cities_and_migration