‘Everybody is Taking Their Security in Their Own Hands’: Exploring Everyday Urban Safety Perceptions and Realities in Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana


There are concerns that responses to urban safety are gradually reinforcing socio-spatial inequalities, with suggestions emphasising community-institutional collaborations for promoting safer urban communities. Yet, the quotidian realities that underpin residents’ lived experiences are scantly used in urban safety strategies, despite that official crime data are often unavailable and outdated for many urban communities of the global south. Based on in-depth interviews with residents and officials in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis, this paper explores residents’ everyday urban safety perceptions and responses to unravel their safety realities and to offer insights for building safer communities. Findings show that safety perceptions and responses permeate residents’ everyday urban life and are enmeshed within socio-economic inequalities and the ethos of city planning and security agencies. This paper argues that planning and other public authorities need a strategic shift that valorises the everyday as a crucial source of knowledge on the socio-economic and spatial conditions that undergird residents’ everyday experiences of safety and as a basis for collaborative safety strategies.

Publication Title

Urban Forum