Urban Security Regime(s): Private Security, Public Space, and Everyday Life in Eastern Europe

IMG_0078Bucharest is one of the safest cities of Europe: compared to similar cities violent crime (homicide etc.) rates are substantially lower. On the other hand, it also appears to be one of the most highly and visibly securitized cities, potentially providing an example of what Stephen Graham has called `military urbanism’. A plethora of private security companies operate in the Romanian capital, providing protection services to public sector institutions, commercial sites and private property. They form a ubiquitous presence in the urban landscape, posted at road intersections and the cross-roads and thresholds of everyday urban life, for instance at school entrances, drugstores and in train stations. Apart from taking care of security issues they also seem to perform implementing codes of proper conduct and ensuring s mooth interaction in public venues and spaces. Some large security companies also offer emergency health (ambulance) services, signalling a broadening of the scope of activity and widening of the concept of security. This research scrutinizes the ways in which urban everyday life is framed by securitization processes, investigating the post-socialist emergence of security companies, exploring their daily activities, the legal frameworks within which they operate, the technological endowments, the similarities and differences between companies, their relationship with public security, and their own codes of conduct and informal rules and norms.

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