Controlling risks in the safe city: The rise of pre-emptive practices in law enforcement, public surveillance and mental health and addiction care (1970–2020)

W.P.T. de Jong*, L. Strikwerda

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This article describes pre-emptive practices in law enforcement, public surveillance and mental health and addiction care in the Dutch city Amersfoort and the Netherlands in general between 1970 and 2020. These developments are driven by top-down as well as bottom-up interactions on an urban level. The development of this ‘preventive gaze’, though intensified by 9/11, has deeper origins in the urban crisis: the struggle against communal crime and the heroin epidemic in circumstances of austerity encouraged a shift from post-hoc repression to prevention of public nuisance. This shift is analysed in light of the concepts of the risk society, the culture of control and the Disneyisation of inner cities, and its legal and moral implications are assessed. Aiming at unknown future risks, the ‘precautionary culture’ itself risks encroaching on the freedoms of citizens, ultimately making cities less safe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2514-2530
Number of pages17
JournalUrban Studies
Volume58
Issue number12
Early online date18 Nov 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

Keywords

  • culture of control
  • Disneyisation
  • precautionary criminal law
  • prevention
  • risk society
  • urban crisis

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