Local Safety Audit in the Queretaro Municipality
United Nations / Multilateral body
A Local Safety Audit (LSA) is a tool aimed at understanding the underlying social dynamics which enable crime and violence. By analyzing the local context at the maximum level of geographical disaggregation, an LSA allows for the design, monitoring and evaluation of wide-range evidence-based policies in the medium and long terms. In Mexico, its methodology involved a mixed approach where the collection of quantitative information from official statistical and geographical sources was complemented with qualitative information from a participatory social diagnosis. The LSA allowed for the Queretaro municipality’s inhabitants to identify capacities, risks, and vulnerabilities in 22 neighborhoods, and for this information to be systematized, coded and analyzed. The implementation of the LSA methodology was conducted in parallel in Cali, Colombia and Durban, South Africa.
The main objective of the LSA in Queretaro was to collect and analyze empirical information on crime, violence and all their underlying socio-economic factors to feed the local decision-making process. All of this in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The overall practice comprised of the identification of local problems, the development of policy recommendations, a monitoring strategy on their implementation and the evaluation of the process and its results. The analysis and the development of the policy recommendations were strictly aligned with the following SDGs: - SDG 3 Health and Well-Being, by addressing the drug use problem of the risk it poses for children and youth; - SDG 5 Gender Equality, by targeting gender-based violence, domestic violence, sexual harassment, rape and femicide; - SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities, in terms of the main challenges of the urban environment in the municipality; and - SDG 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, by analyzing crime and violence indicators such as most recurrent reported crimes, the perception of insecurity and antisocial behaviors at the municipal and neighborhood levels.
The LSA produced a report with policy recommendations which were implemented and subsequently monitored. These recommendations followed specific targets (and often indicators) of the Sustainable Development Goals 3, 5, 11 and 16. Therefore, the result of implementing the LSA, was that the local government significantly improved its adherence and compliance with the 2030 Agenda. Some of the actions implemented by the local authorities thanks to the LSA included the creation of a new administrative unit to address gender related violence, arrests for substance abuse, awareness-raising talks on alcohol consumption, workshops in schools to prevent domestic and gender-based violence; training of the municipal police force, identification of risk factors in the environment, broadening of security operations in the most insecure areas, creation of citizen networks, and police evaluations.
The implementation of the LSA consisted on 6 main stages: 1. Quantitative data collection: Mapping of statistical and geographical sources. Indicators were proposed to identify the neighborhoods on which to conduct the Participatory Social Diagnosis. Based on the collected information, a crime incidence analysis was conducted to select the 22 participating neighborhoods. 2. Qualitative data collection: Participatory social diagnosis: Analyzing insecurity and crime risks at the local level through intervention techniques. The project conducted focus groups; work groups with social and governmental sectors; participatory mappings to identify threats, vulnerabilities, and capacities of each neighborhood; exploratory walks; and interviews with prison population. 3. Findings report: Analyzing risks according to the capacities, threats and vulnerabilities found in each neighborhood, and formulating recommendations based on these findings. The information obtained in the previous stages was systematized and cross-checked. 4. Comprehensive model: Embedding the recommendations derived from the analysis of the first stages into the local government’s planning process. These recommendations were included in the Municipal Security Plan and in the “Action is Prevention” local program, contributing directly to the design of public policy on security and crime prevention. The authorities were committed to apply and monitor these recommendations. 5. Implementation of strategies and actions: Applying intervention strategies and actions with social and governmental actors. These strategies were based on the recommendations and accompanied by UNODC. Their application relates to SDGs 3, 5, 11 and 16. 6. Monitoring and evaluation: Conducting a desk review to verify the implementation of the LSA recommendations. Interviews were also conducted with local government officials. A dashboard was developed to monitor the impact of the LSA in local indicators related to SDGs 3, 5, 11 and 16.
The main product of the project was an LSA report published in April 2019. The report contains general findings and 141 policy recommendations aligned to SDGs 3, 5, 11 and 16. The recommendations were targeted both at the people (community-based actions) and at the institutions (helping them to better prevent crime and violence, intervene in the community and strengthen their capacities). Out of these recommendations, 84 focused on strengthening the Ministry of Public Security of the Queretaro Municipality (SSPMQ), 24 on robbery, 14 on crimes related to gender-based violence, 8 on homicides, 4 on drug dealing and trafficking, 4 on arms trafficking, and 3 on alcohol consumption. As of 2020, 77% of the recommendations had been addressed by local authorities. Another 8% were in process, and only 15% had not been implemented. The actions applied by the Queretaro Mayor’s Office consisted of giving continuity to successful programs, implementing security strategies and operations, conducting arrests, identifying risk factors, reinforcing collaboration between institutions, expanding human and material resources, awareness-raising talks, crime prevention training, analyzing information and respecting human rights.
The partnerships and multidisciplinary nature of the team enriched the implementation of the methodology. The project was financed by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) with $200,000 USD. The economic and human resources were sufficient to conduct the project, making it cost-effective. One of the main limitations was the availability of official data at the local level (neighborhood). However, the project overcame these shortcomings during the first 3 stages of the LSA through constant communication with government institutions that provided the missing data. This generated new ideas for adapting the methodology to the Mexican context.
The LSA is a tool designed for replicability in any city and local context, with a novel and adaptable approach to its implementation, while solidly based on a scientific framework, international standards and guidelines. It has a structure with well-defined stages and a methodology designed for the collection of quantitative and qualitative information that builds on the 2030 Agenda. In addition, it assists in the adoption and implementation of the United Nations Crime Prevention Guide. Thanks to this framework, its implementation is viable in any context that requires the identification of insecurity and crime situations. This has been proved by the parallel exercise conducted in Colombia and South Africa. The recommendations generated from the LSA even allow for follow-up and monitoring over time by local governments, ensuring its sustainability.
As a by-product of the LSA, the Mayor’s Office of the Queretaro municipality liaised with the UNODC Center of Excellence to design and implement the "Vulnerable groups attention campaign during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Queretaro municipality". Through audiovisual materials, support tools and awareness-raising, the campaign provided information on the types of violence that families may experience because of the lockdown. Through the same campaign, the "Hand in hand for your safety" initiative was developed by the Ministry of Public Safety of the Queretaro Municipality (SSPMQ) and the Center of Excellence to provide assistance to the elderly in vulnerable situations in public spaces. By applying QR technology in bracelets, authorities are now able to locate elderly persons reported as missing thanks to this initiative.
SDGS & Targets
Deliverables & Timeline
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