The city of Bra (Italy) recently joined the European Forum for Urban Security. Bruna Sibille, its Mayor (centre left) since June 2009, kindly accepted to answer a few questions for us.
Why did you join the European Forum for Urban Security?
Being a member gives us the opportunity to discuss and share with other cities who believe, like us, that urban security is a key component of the quality of life in a city. Bra is still relatively peaceful. But we must be careful in particular because budgetary cuts have also an impact on security, and this poses a risk to the quality of life of citizens.
What are the main security challenges in your city?
Burglaries are the most common crimes in our city. We are very committed to prevention. It is particularly important in light of the transformation we are currently going through because it affects young people, who are tomorrow’s adults. Indeed, some values that in the past were shared within the family are now declining, and there are less spaces available to young people for socialising. This might fuel a culture of illegality and intimidation. Furthermore, there is not enough social assistance and young people are discriminated in the job market, and this can also fuel conflicts and crime. We at Bra ambition to preserve and strengthen a community that is united and shows solidarity.
What does the Forum bring to your city, apart from the actions you have already implemented? How will you profit from being a member?
The European Forum is a meeting point where you can discuss, exchange and share, and that is the way to improve things. The fact that it is pan-European is another advantage that is particularly important since we deal with local management policies, which require a permanent dialogue with citizens.
Is there a municipal crime prevention strategy in Bra?
In Italy, public order is almost entirely under the authority of the central State, and in particular the police and the judicial system. At the local level, Mayors can support and coordinate the various stakeholders involved in crime prevention and repression. In Bra, we regularly consult all those stakeholders in order to share objectives and act in a coordinated manner. One example is the CCTV system installed a decade ago: it is managed jointly by the local police and the Carabinieri.
Which specific actions have you put in place in your city that you wish to share with other Forum members?
I would like to share some of the numerous activities we develop for the most disadvantaged sectors of the population, such as young and elderly people, who are sometimes victims of appalling crimes such as fraud. As far as young people are concerned, Bra has put in place interesting programmes involving mediation, which I believe can be of interest for other public authorities who wish to work on similar themes.
Another interesting theme is citizen participation in security, for instance through civic volunteering or by improving citizens’ access to public spaces.
The interview of Ms Sibille was realised in January 2013.
City information sheet available here