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Model (my) neighbourhood – a bottom-up collective approach for crime-prevention in Portugal and Lithuania

Miguel Saraiva (CITTA – Research Centre for Territory, Transports and Environment, Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal)
Irina Matijosaitiene (Department of Architecture and Urbanism, Kaunas University of Technology, Kaunas, Lithuania)
Mónica Diniz (Lisbon Municipal Police, Lisbon, Portugal)
Vilius Velicka (Faculty of Public Security, Lithuanian Police School, Mykolas Romeris University, Vilnius, Lithuania)

Journal of Place Management and Development

ISSN: 1753-8335

Article publication date: 11 July 2016



The purpose of this paper is to respond to the need for comparative studies on methodologies for implementing Crime Prevention through Urban Design and Planning (CP-UDP) at the local level, particularly in peripheral Europe where CP-UDP’s top-down standards have poor dissemination and acceptance. This paper debates how local partnerships can help reduce crime and how a CP-UDP-based model can be introduced into municipal planning.


The paper discusses the challenge of CP-UDP in the framework of a post-crisis Europe and Europe 2020. Because there is a large gap between theory and practice, lack of a shared holistic approach, and scepticism, or lack of knowledge, of public authorities, at local-level planning professionals and the police have devised bottom-up initiatives based on interdisciplinary partnerships with the community. The paper describes, discusses and compares the implementation of such approaches in Lisbon (Portugal) and Vilnius (Lithuania).


The paper addresses the processes and challenges of establishing synergies and working relationships between police officers, public officials and the community, and it discusses six main causes for its (un)success. When these conditions were met, crime and social constraints reduced.

Practical implications

Lessons learned are deemed crucial to disseminate knowledge and best practices, paving the way for proper top-down policies and planning legislations in these and other countries.


This paper analyses the potentialities and shortcomings of local-level implementation of CP-UDP strategies as an alternative to failed top-down strategies in two realities mostly unknown of the international scientific community. The case study material is previously unpublished internationally.



The authors would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable contribution to this work. The authors would also like to thank COST – the European Cooperation in Science and Technology, for promoting the interaction between European researchers, in this case, through TUD COST Action TU1203 – Crime Prevention through Urban Design and Planning.


Saraiva, M., Matijosaitiene, I., Diniz, M. and Velicka, V. (2016), "Model (my) neighbourhood – a bottom-up collective approach for crime-prevention in Portugal and Lithuania", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 9 No. 2, pp. 166-190.



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