• Urban Fortresses: Gated communities as a reaction to crime

    One of the consequences of the state’s inability to protect the life and property of all its citizens—especially in developing countries—is the formation of private alternatives to crime prevention and control. Gated communities, or enclosed neighbourhoods, are one such popular alternative. This article compares the phenomenon of gated communities in two developing countries: South Africa and Brazil. Both countries are plagued by violent crime and share…

  • Security in Niamey: an anthropological perspective on policing and an act of terrorism in Niger*

    The abduction of two Frenchmen in January 2011 in Niamey’s supposedly most secure neighbourhood has led many to question the functioning of the city’s security apparatus. This paper analyses Niamey’s security landscape, initially from an historical and then from a spatial perspective. It argues that for a comprehensive analysis of security, we must first decentre our perspective on security construction, and thus take informal non-organised modes of policing just as seriously as policing by state and vigilante organisations; and second, take into…

  • Crime and Violence Trends in Nairobi, Kenya

    This paper examines the phenomenon of youth crime in Nairobi especially in relation to youth gangs. The case pays special attention to the Mungiki movement and street families. It also examines some of the organized responses to crime of this nature. As the administrative, political and commercial capital of Kenya, Nairobi is a significant trendsetter in the country. The city holds approximately 3 million residents, 10% of the Kenyan population. An additional 1.5 million persons…