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VERSS - Aspects of an equitable and fair distribution of safety in cities

Since June 15, 2014, the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) has been promoting the joint project VERSS lead by the International Centre for Ethics in Sciences and Humanities of the University of Tübingen.

The associated partners are concerned with the common issue to embed safety preventatively as an integral part of modern urban design, but at the same time to preserve the “balance between safety and freedom”. Considering this the partners plan a close networking with the project objectives Wuppertal and Stuttgart.

Safety in cities

Safety and uncertainty are not steadily spread for each individual. The security environment is shaped by the use of financial and personal ressources depending on spatial requirements, personal settings and political decisions.

VERSS as a research project focuses on the distribution of security especially with respect to public and private measures of general crime prevention.

Crime prevention and confidence

Within the framework of the project the Institute for Security Systems will pay particular attention to confidence and trust as a decisive social parameter to establish and safeguard security.

Faith in political institutions -  as the police forces - as well as the mutual trust of residents within neighbourhoods are taken into consideration. Previous research projects prove that police forces as well as legal institutions may strengthen public confidence if they are perceived as fair and respectful towards the general public.

This kind of basic trust is crucial for the legitimacy of legal bodies and therefore represents the basis for the citizens’ disposition to accept the institutional authority and to cooperate with public authorities. Mutual trust and shared values among neighbours may increase willingness of the individual to get involved into the safeguarding of common safety in the near neighbourhood and to practice social control. These days, close links of private friendships no longer enable a kind of social cohesion in major cities. It is more the trust in implementing common goals (security etc.).



Haverkamp, Rita / Lukas, Tim: Städtische Sicherheit. Gerecht verteilt? Zur Verteilungsgerechtigkeit von Kriminalprävention. In: Zoche, Peter / Kaufmann, Stefan / Arnold, Harald (Hrsg.):Grenzenlose Sicherheit? Gesellschaftliche Dimensionen der Sicherheitsforschung. Münster, LIT (2016).

Lukas, Tim / Starcke, Jan / Dünckel, Frauke: Die Lebensphase Alter und die Prävention von Kriminalität - Das Wuppertaler Modell der Seniorensicherheitsberater. In: Neubacher, Frank (Hrsg.): Krise - Kriminalität - Kriminologie. Mönchengladbach: Forum Verlag (2016).

Bescherer, Peter / Haverkamp, Rita / Lukas, Tim: Das  Recht auf Stadt zwischen kommunaler Sparpolitik und privaten Investitionen. Eine Fallstudie zu Konflikten um urbane Sicherheit. In: Kritische Justiz, 1, 2016, S. 72-85.

Haverkamp, Rita / Hecker, Meike / Lukas, Tim / Starcke, Jan: Aspekte einer gerechten Verteilung von Sicherheit in der Stadt (VERSS). Eine Einführung in die Fallstudie Kriminalprävention. In: Kerner, Hans-Jürgen / Marks, Erich (Hrsg.): Internetdokumentation des Deutschen Präventionstages. Hannover, 2015.

Haverkamp, Rita / Hecker, Meike / Lukas, Tim / Starcke, Jan:Urbane Sicherheit und soziale Gerechtigkeit. Skizze eines Forschungsprojektes. In: Monatsschrift für Kriminologie und Strafrechtsreform, 2, 2015, S. 134-146.

Haverkamp, Rita / Hecker, Meike / Lukas, Tim: Gerechte(re) Prävention und Sicherheit? Aspekte einer gerechten Verteilung von Sicherheit in der Stadt (VERSS). In: Forum Kriminalprävention, 4, 2014, S. 37-41.

Further Information:

The ISS project flyer may be downloaded hier

The project website may be found hier.

An article concerning the onsite inspection of the research area Wuppertal-Wichlinghausen may be found on the Homepage of the local district office.

First results have been presented (dort) in the context of a district conference in Wichlinghausen.

Dr. Tim Lukas commented on the urban redesign of Wuppertal main train station and on the dealing with fringe groups in the Wuppertal journal "talwaerts".

Accompanying reports that comment the population surveys that have been made in Wuppertal and Stuttgart in the course of the project may be found in these local journals:

"Wuppertaler Rundschau" and "Stadtzeitung Wuppertal".

Duration of project

06/2014 - 06/2017

Project Funding

Project funding will be made by means of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the project framework "Research for civil safety "Forschung für die zivile Sicherheit" (urban safety).


Dr. Tim Lukas | Jan Starcke


Institute for security systems

University of Wuppertal
Institute for security systems (ISS)
Talstr. 71
42551 Velbert

T: +49 (0)2051/93322-0
Q: +49 (0)2051/93322-29