Cover Image
close this bookBasic Facts on Urbanization (HABITAT, 2001, 21 p.)
View the documentAbout
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentGeneral Demographic Trends
View the documentThe Growth of Large Cities
View the documentThe Economics of Cities
View the documentUrbanization and Feminization of Poverty
View the documentThe Challenge of Adequate Housing
View the documentHomelessness
View the documentUrban Violence
View the documentEnvironmental Deterioration
View the documentAccess to Services and Basic Infrastructure
View the documentChildren in the Urban World
View the documentSustainable Urban Development
View the documentGlobal Campaigns on Security of Tenure and Urban Governance
View the documentNotes
View the documentList of References

Urban Violence

The global demographic trend towards cities - and increasingly towards large cities - as well as the increasing spatial segregation within cities, creates fertile grounds for social unrest and urban crime. Urban violence has grown at rates between 3 and 5 per cent per year during the last two decades. This is largely in line with urban population growth in most developing countries. In some regions, for instance Asia and the United States, overall crime has decreased. In most regions, however, crimes against property, organised violent criminality and drug trafficking, have increased considerably within cities of more than 100,000 inhabitants.(41) In addition, involvement of youth and particularly minors in criminality has increased. This trend is confirmed in almost all countries.(42)

Domestic violence and violence against women generally are phenomena associated with increasing urbanization and are factors contributing to female homelessness. Vandalism or hooliganism, often not legally prosecuted, has emerged as distorted individual behaviour as opposed to good citizenship. Although often considered 'petty' in the legal sense of the word, such incidents make life very unpleasant for city dwellers and increase the impression of city degradation.(43)