Monday 29 May 2006, by University of Barcelona
From some time, there is a permanent and broad concern about the strong increase of insecurity within big European cities. Insecurity is also a related concept to crime fear which in turn constitutes an instrument for implementation of criminal policies, but also for developing particular uses of penal control. These two last activities come in use by politicians when they verify that crime produces votes, which could also be seen as a way to manipulation of security consciousness.
Out of this type of considerations, it must also be said that depending of the structure of State organizations, but related to the inside system of relationships between the central State and cities government, municipalities or town councils have not capacity to punish or to introduce municipal legislations or bylaws by which some particular penalties can be applied to human behaviours which are originally not considered as crimes but the effects of social exclusion. In this view, there are some big European cities (metropolis) which are prepared to introduce particular legislations or bylaws addressed to prevent also incivilities. The case of Barcelona city, as capital of Catalonia, this as one of the seventeenth Autonomous Communities of Spanish State, is a very particular one because from last January (exactly on 15th) came into force a bylaw, oriented to «promote and guarantee a share living within the public space of Barcelona».
The previous social atmosphere at the time that the bylaw came into effect, at the city of Barcelona, was really harsh because most of the social groups and movements involved in the public discussion were already aware about possible harmful repercussions of the regulation. Therefore, some of those movements and organizations outside to undertake public denunciations have also presented formal complaints when the Town Hall has opened a space to present and discuss about the former bylaw project . But, no one of these complaints has being taken into account. Regarding this background the bylaw came into force and now is the time along which some of those organizations must to pay close attention in order to follow up the bylaw enforcement in the next time. This will be a main purpose of the Observatory of Penal System and the Human Rights of the University of Barcelona (Observatori del Sistema Penal i els Drets Humans de l’Universitat de Barcelona- OSPDH), and its results will be presented in a next Deliverable of this Workpackage 9.
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