Methods and Tools for a Strategic Approach to Urban Security – Publication

Methods and Tools for a Strategic Approach
to Urban Security


The implementation of local actions to improve individual and collective security requires a clear and precise understanding both of crime in a given community and of the various perceptions of safety held by different groups of the population.

The purpose of this guidebook is to encourage and help European local policy-makers and practitioners to build and review their security policies using reliable information and data collected on the ground.

It is the result of work carried out between 2013 and 2016 in the framework of the European project “Methodological tools for the definition of local security policies in Europe (AUDITS)”. This project was co-financed by the European Commission and brought together the European, French, German and Italian Forums for Urban Security as well as the cities of Rotterdam and Stuttgart as partners. They were supported by the Ministry of the Interior of Belgium, the Ministry of the Interior of Portugal, the Belgian Forum for Prevention and Urban Security and the city of Brussels as associate partners, as well as the experts Sohail Husain, Francesc Guillén Lasierra and Svetislav Paunovic.


This publication is divided in three parts.

Part 1: The strategic approach to urban security

This part presents the strategic approach to urban security and why it is important. It explains what constitutes a local security audit and why it is necessary to widen the analytical field beyond a simple assessment of criminal acts or the absence thereof. It also demonstrates how a strategic approach to urban security can contribute to the sustainable development of European cities and regions.

Moreover, this chapter presents a historical perspective on audits and analyses what it means to work on crime prevention today. It gives concrete examples of problems and presents current trends and challenges, such as: the translation of the results of the audit into concrete actions; the use of new information and communication technologies; the opportunities offered by open data, and the obstacles to overcome in order to implement a strategic approach in the current climate of budgetary reductions.

Part 2: Governance and sustainability

The second part is particularly aimed at policy-makers and presents recommendations for implementing the strategic approach. It focuses on making this approach manageable and sustainable and looks at how to create partnerships between different stakeholders and how to involve citizens. The questions raised here concern: political leadership; the relationship between prevention policies and other long-term strategic policies; the necessary conditions for information-sharing; the communication of security policies; the necessary means for ensuring long-term support for this approach, and the evaluation procedures.

Part 3: Methods and tools for implementation

The third part aims to give an overview of the available methods and tools in terms of the envisaged objective, focusing on how to: learn about and understand the context; mobilise the stakeholders; construct a strategy; implement relevant actions and lead an evaluation.

The advantages and disadvantages of each are also presented in order to allow local actors to identify the methods and tools which are most relevant to them, according to the local context.

The publication is also available in French, German, Italian and Spanish.


In addition, a clear and concise description of the methods and tools presented in part three, as well as case studies in European countries, are published below:

Tool descriptions

Monitoring a process
Analysis of the prevention measures in place in case of flat burglary
Neighbourhood Profile
HAKUS – Heidelberg Audit Concept of Urban Security
Safetipin application
School Focus
Sense of security Monitor
Security Monitor
Security and Tourism Audit

Senior Survey
Sara Model

Prevention of victimisation in Roma communities

Country profiles

Czech Republic

United Kingdom



Methods and Tools for a Strategic Approach to Urban Security. 2016. Paris: European Forum for Urban Security, 85 pages. Bilingual English/German or French/Italian edition.



With the financial support of the Prevention of and Fight against Crime Programme
European Commission – Directorate General Home Affaire