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        • Twelve years have passed since the first municipal safety council was set up as part of developing the community policing concept.

          In the meantime, there has been no full political support at the national level to the idea that municipal safety councils and community policing can improve the safety of citizens in Serbian municipalities and towns.

          Crime prevention seems not to be attractive to politicians. The number of municipal safety councils has dropped by 7% relative to 2007. It is estimated that advisory bodies in charge of improving safety and/or crime prevention operate in 76 municipalities and towns across Serbia. One half of the remaining municipalities where such advisory bodies have not been set up find the idea of their establishment attractive. The other half find the idea unattractive.

          The interest of the majority of Serbian municipalities and towns is indicative of the critical mass that is willing to improve safety in local communities. The problem relates to the way of organising the work of municipal safety councils and ensuring the participation of all local stakeholders, i.e. creating partnership. The police and the prosecution are not the only institutions that can improve safety. Also important are local self-government authorities, schools, civil society organisations, healthcare institutions, youth offices. The number of actors depends on local communities’ safety problems.

          In building a safe partnership, it is important to continue working on the action plan for implementation of the community policing concept, whose adoption is late for more than seventeen months already. What is positive is that different players are involved in drafting the plan. However, too much time is spent on the normative regulation of municipal safety councils and the discussion about which law (the police or local self-government law) will stipulate the establishment of councils.

          The legal foundation for setting up councils does exist, but what is missing is the operationalization of these working bodies. The action plan for implementation of the Community Policing Strategy should insist on bridging this gap.

          Finally, what is often disregarded is that each community consists of men and women, girls and boys, who differently perceive threats at their safety and have a different feeling of their personal (un)safety. The phenomena such as violence, thefts, traffic accidents or natural disasters have different consequences on women and men. The sources of unsafety for women and men are different, as well as their feeling of personal safety. Therefore, in designing the activities for the prevention and enhancement of safety in the community, account should be taken also of whether individual groups (women, girls, men, boys) are more exposed to some threats (and which ones), at what places violence occurs, and what is the cause of their unsafety.

          The first part of the Report contains a comparative overview of legal responsibilities of the local self-government in regard to safety and development of the community policing concept following the adoption of the strategic plan in April 2013. The second, main part analyses the operation of municipal safety councils so far. The gender dimension of local safety is then presented, followed by the analysis of the safety situation in Aranđelovac, Golubac, Leskovac, Niška Banja, Novi Pazar and Paraćin. The research methodology is presented in the final section of the Report.

        • Tags: police, local community, safety, Sasa Djordjevic, Gorana Radovanovic
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