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Published: 2022-10-28

Umeå is growing safely and securely

NEWS UCER has presented a final report of the evaluation of “Umeå grows safe and secure” – a joint municipal effort to counteract tendencies towards social unrest in the north-eastern districts of Umeå. The evaluation shows that the effort contributed to building a collective readiness for action and that the problems have not worsened, but that the challenges remain.

Umeå Center for Evaluation Research (UCER) has, in collaboration with Umeå municipality’s crime prevention council, evaluated Umeå grows safe and secure (UGSS). The evaluation,  carried out by Anders Hanberger and Joakim Lindgren at the Department of Applied Educational Sciences, had the purpose of contributing to the development of UGSS (part 1) and to examine the value and effects of the local safety-creating/crime prevention work developed in collaboration between the municipality, police and other actors (part 2). The evaluation has been financed by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (BRÅ).

The evaluation sought answers to three questions:

1. What characterizes the safety-creating and crime-preventing work developed in cooperation between the police, the municipality and other actors for the north-eastern districts?

2. What characterizes the work of two schools in collaboration with other actors to deal with threats, violence and create safety in the school, including supporting pupils who tend to fail and create unrest in the school?

3. What is the relevance, value and effects of this work?

The results show that UGSS has developed from a time-limited project to a long-term municipal commitment that has gained an increasingly important role in Umeå municipality’s safety-creating and crime-prevention policy and work. UGSS has mainly contributed to building institutional capital, a collective capacity and joint preparedness for action to identify, prevent and deal with insecurity and crime in the north-eastern districts both at the political and operational level.

Those who have participated in UGSS’ networks emphasize that they have given them updated and a more comprehensive picture of the security and crime situation, better insights and knowledge of problems/challenges that they and others perceive, as well as knowledge of and understanding of the missions of various actors, their discretions and actions. They have also gained perspective on their own work in the larger ­context.

A number of initiatives are highlighted that have contributed to safety and well-being in various indoor and outdoor environments. For example, resource persons in the schools have contributed to safety and security in and outside class rooms. Shrub and bush clearing, better lighting and comfort-creating measures have increased safety in and around Ålidhem’s Center and in the outdoor environment at Ersboda. Drug sales have diminished at a number of hotspots as a result of these actions but moved to other locations.

Overall UGSS has contributed to  prevent establishing areas/districts with social unrest in the municipality. The report also draws attention to and discusses a number of dilemmas and challenges that remain such as, for example, being able to talk about the problems/challenges without provoking and stigmatizing people living in the north-eastern districts.