Homeland Security and urbanization are key issues concerning civil society. By 2025, India will account for 36 out of 440 emerging cities in the world according to McKinsey Global. Presently, around 31% of India is urbanized; by 2050 India will have 68 cities with a population of more than 1 million, 13 cities with more than 4 million people and 6 megacities with a population of over 10 million. At the same time, urbanization is causing a huge pressure on civic infrastructure leading to increase in slum area, traffic congestions and also fueling the ever widening gap between the haves and the have-nots.
Cities that attract economic power and foster growth also spawn crime, violence & and an overall sense of insecurity. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the rate of incidences of crime (cognizable offenses under IPC) has seen a major upward trend. Foremost among these is rape, the number of incidences of which has risen by 873% since 1953. It is followed by kidnapping and abduction (749%) and murder (250%). [See Fig 1].
Crime and fear of crime are perhaps the most important factors influencing our choice of a living place, workplace and behavior. The impetus for urban growth will depend much upon India’s ability to sustain its homeland security.
There are several small security elements that can together create a desired safe and secure city scenario, these are listed as follows:
- Video Surveillance and monitoring at identified vulnerable locations;
- Detection tools against CBRNe threats;
- 3D GIS Mapping of the City;
- GPS based Patrol services;
- Dedicated hot line for women complaint cell and other reports that need immediate attention;
- Capacity building and modernization of various paramilitary forces;
- Traffic management;
- Sustainability & Accountability through information sharing and community involvement;
- Better Urban design & planning; E.g.; well lit streets, squares, parks etc
- Up-gradation of slums;
- Management of Public Spaces;
- Education & health facilities for poor;
- Use of local crime surveys and crime audits;
- Partnership between Government, civil Society & industry; and
- Conducive legal and administrative systems for socio-economic development & inclusion
Most or all of these homeland security initiatives exist in cities however the deterrent for effective implementation is weak data sharing. Rising crime, a sense of insecurity and growing internal threats require that a common homeland security strategy be drawn by every city. This common homeland security strategy should involve all relevant stakeholders in defining the same and simultaneously define the roles of each stakeholder / actor in ensuring its successful implementation. Our homeland security strategy also needs to scope for capacity building of stakeholders.
Common Homeland Security Strategy for our cities
- The First step in creating a common strategy blueprint would be initializing partnerships to enable information and resource sharing amongst as many stakeholders as possible. This is required for countering information asymmetry. These potential stakeholders include policymakers, administrators, community based organizations, private sector, citizens and researchers to name a few.
- Second, since every city is different; there is a need to conduct a security audit to identify gaps based on primary and authentic data.
- Third, based on these identified homeland security gaps, there is a need to define priority areas and correspondingly plan resource allocation.
- Fourth, creation of a communication and information exchange strategy.
- Fifth, establish a robust monitoring and evaluation framework to identify implementation failures during the initial stages planning; and
- Sixth, institutionalize Safe City Initiatives. This will foster integration of Safe City initiative into existing or new policies, programs, and core functions of local authorities. It will also render crime and violence prevention measures as an ongoing part of policymaking, planning, budgeting, and monitoring.
Governance, planning, technology, resources and awareness of citizens form the most important dimensions to homeland security strategy. The preparedness of a city to respond to the threats and effective delivery of aid to its citizens needs to be enhanced through use of latest technology.
FICCI’s initiative on the Safe and Secure City is an attempt to leverage partnerships and technology to aid communities as well as businesses, and reduce insecurities to create an environment conducive for growth and development. The broad objectives that we aspire to meet through this initiative are:
- Creation of and sustaining proactive partnerships for safe and secure city
- Encouraging community involvement and support
- Reducing crime and increasing public perceptions towards safety and security
FICCI is organizing a two day conference Homeland Security 2012 – “Safe and Secure City” on August 7–8, 2012 at FICCI, Federation House, New Delhi. Through this initiative we intend to raise awareness, discuss challenges and explore ways by which technology can help in mitigating these challenges. For more information about the event and to participate please contact us at rashmisarita – at – ficci.com