Jasper Presented on NIG

18 Nov 2021

Large and medium-sized cities are becoming more crowded and complex. A global trend towards urbanization has been evident for some time now. On top of that, internationalization and migration have brought many different cultures together in large as well as medium-sized cities. This superdiversity (Geldof, 2013) offers many opportunities but also leads to tensions and resistance among citizens. This tension is visible on the local level in specific neighbourhoods and districts of large cities in the form of estrangement, clashing values, irritation, intimidation, threats and incidents (Adang et al., 2010). This creates problems for professionals in their daily work in neighbourhoods and districts (van Wonderen & Witte, 2016). Among other things, it challenges the police professionals who are trying to be embedded in the community and being visible and connected to all population groups (Easton et al., 2010; Terpstra & Salet, 2019). The police are not alone in taking up this challenge. After all, this is a pressing issue for all community safety professionals and active inhabitants in the framework of community policing which explicitly refers to enabling partnerships to tackle societal issues (Ponsaers et al., 2007; Van Steden et al., 2021; Van Steenberge et al., 2014).

This paper is based on the ongoing qualitative, comparative research project 'Schurende Verschillen' which focuses on a selection of super-diverse communities in both Dutch and Belgian neighbourhoods. However, the paper limits itself to the Ghent case study. By means of interviews with frontline professionals in five neighbourhoods (Sint-Bernadette, Dampoort, Nieuw Gent, Watersportbaan and Westveld), we get an insight into how frontline cooperation takes shape in troublesome neighbourhoods.