German Policy on Public Perceptions of Safety

It is a major task of crime policy to increase the publics perception of safety because the fear to go to certain places or to visit theatres, concerts, cinemas or restaurants in the evening affects the quality of life. Thus, adequate security policy must consider the perceived threat posed by crime, even if the actual crime situation and its subjective perception widely diverge.

Reducing the fear of crime must, above all be the goal of activities at local level. These activities are supported by the Federal Government, e.g. through security cooperation agreements between the Federal Ministry of the Interior and the Länder to improve police cooperation. Police presence at local crime hotspots is to bolster peoples confidence in the safety of public places. This form of security cooperation will be continued in the future.

The publics perception of safety can also be positively influenced through neighbourhood policies. Urban developers should therefore increasingly take into account crime prevention aspects. To this end, in 1999 the Federal Government together with the Länder and municipalities launched the programme “Stadtteile mit besonderem Entwicklungsbedarf – die soziale Stadt” [City districts with special development needs – the social city]. Moreover, future urban developers, architects and civil engineers should learn more about crime prevention already during their training. The Federal Ministry of the Interior has therefore asked the head of the common committee for the coordination of academic training and examination to take into account crime prevention aspects when revising the framework regulation for these courses of study.