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Linköping Municipality boosts its visibility among residents

Linköping Municipality boosts its visibility among residents

An alternative way to policing and providing security

There are many urban residents’ lives which pass disconnected from the benefits of municipal services and if they ever encounter those it is only experienced as a source of tension, conflict and punishment. The Swedish Municipality of Linköping has the intention to start bridging this large divide with the introduction of specialized area teams that will combine police prevention and social work and will make residents in troubled neighbourhoods see that the administration is there for them in a bid to increase security for everyone.

This is part of a wider action plan that includes 60 separate measures

Municipal Councillor Annika Krutzén (M) is one of the key people behind this initiative. In her opinion, there are districts, such as Berga, Ryd and Skäggetorp, where the Municipality has remained largely invisible to the residents and this needs to change. Such districts, commonly referred to as ‘vulnerable areas’ in Sweden, are often characterized by high percentages of unemployment, social exclusion and criminal activity. Also, large portion of the inhabitants there have a foreign background, and that contributes to the exclusion (the municipal website has even used the term ‘segregation’).

The goal is to provide a wholesome approach by sending area teams after working hours, composed of nine people who specialize in crime prevention and communal ‘bridge building’.

"The area teams will meet the local residents at the times and places where they are located. The goal, in addition to increased security, is to prevent crime and create dialogue. We will also be able to control the resources so that they are where they are most useful," explained Security Manager Anders Fernemark.

Furthermore, these area teams will act as the connective tissue between different actors who live and work in the districts, such as real estate agents, shop owners and associations. They are expected to begin operating at some point this year after a decision has been reached by the City Council.

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