Tijdschrift voor Veiligheid

Artikel

Kiezen voor stadsrepublieken? Over administratieve afhandeling van overlast in de steden

Trefwoorden social disorder, incivility, governance, communal sanctions, Mayor
Auteurs Elke Devroe
Auteursinformatie

278861 Elke Devroe
Dr. Elke Devroe is Universitair Hoofddocent Criminologie bij het Instituut voor Strafrecht & Criminologie, Universiteit Leiden. E-mail: e.devroe@law.leidenuniv.nl
  • Samenvatting

      The theme of governing anti-social behaviour and incivilities in the public space became more important on the policy and research agenda over the last twenty years. This article describes the law on incivilities in Belgium, namely the ‘administrative communal sanctions’ (GAS). This law is studied in a broader context of contemporary crime control and its organizing patterns. The development of the politics of behaviour can be explained by different characteristics of the period referred to as the late modernity. In the dissertation ‘A culture of control?’ (Devroe 2012) we studied the application and the concrete strategies behind the governance of incivilities on a national and on a city level. The incivility law broadened the competences of the Mayor and the city council especially in the completion of anti social behaviour and public disorder problems in his/her municipality. Instead of being dealt with on a traditional judicial way by the police magistrate, the Mayor can, by this law; himself lay on fines until maximum 250 euro. We mention ‘city republics’ as this punitive sanction became a locally assigned matter, which means that one municipality differs from another in their ‘incivility policy’. Due to the split up of competences of the Belgian state arrangements of 1988, each municipality finds itself framed in different political and organisational executive realities. In this view, Mayors can be called ‘presidents’ of their own municipality, keeping and controlling the process of tackling incivilities as their main responsibility and determining what behaviour had to be controlled and punished and what behaviour can be considered as normal decent behaviour in the public space. Problems of creating a ‘culture of control’, creating inequality for the poor, the beggars and the socially ‘unwanted’ can arise, especially in big cities.

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