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Gated Neighbourhoods and privatisation of urban security in Ibadan Metropolis

Oluseyi Fabiyi

Chapter 7. Summary of findings and policy implication

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1The study shows that there is quite a lot of useful information available in the informal security network, which can aid policy formulation on safer street programme. The culture and procedure adopted by the neighbourhoods to police their environment can be harnessed by the government and thus make the network more dynamic and effective for the control of crime in urban areas. The study also shows that crime rate is neighbourhood bias, the rich neighbourhoods are more at risk than the poor neighbourhoods. Consequently, the rich neighbourhoods adopt reduction of access through the use of gates to prevent crime while the poor areas adopt cross bars and night watchmen. It was also observed that the rich neighbourhood associations are less cohesive and funding is quite meagre. This could be attributed to the fact that the residents in the rich neighbourhood do not depend solely on the general security control measure by the neighbourhood associations. There are varieties of individual efforts made to ensure safety of properties and lives. The poor neighbourhoods however heavily depend on the general security apparatus in the neighbourhood.

2It was also observed that the poor neighbourhoods have some form of control over membership and sometimes enforce compliance, however the reverse is the case in the rich neighbourhoods where membership is purely voluntary.

3The middle class reveals a form of laisse fair approach to security issues and most incoherent neighbourhood associations where it exists at all. The experience in the middle class neighbourhood shows a picture of a wide variety of opinions and styles. It is difficult to enforce a general security measure in the area. It is difficult to arrive at a consensus view in these neighbourhoods.

4The study also shows that violent crimes and murder are associated with rich areas, while property crime and petty crimes are common in poor areas. The use of local ethnic militia popularly known in the area as (OPC) Oodua Peoples’ congress is heavily patronised by the poor areas while the rich areas have preference for corporate guards or accredited watchmen. There is no neighbourhood in the study areas that adopts police protection, while only a small percentage involves the police in security issues. Most of the poor neighbourhoods only report crimes to the police while some rich neighbourhoods often hold meetings with the police or assist the police in providing some basic tools.

5The wide dichotomy in security control between the rich and poor neighbourhoods suggests that a different policy would be required to ensure a safer neighbourhood in both the rich and the poor areas.


6Quite a number of authors highlighted that gated communities contribute to spatial fragmentation in urban areas. It reflects an increasing polarisation, fragmentation and increasing solidarity within the urban society, for example in Istanbul, fortressed spaces serve to segregate the growing middle class from the surrounding landscape of self constructed squatter settlements.

7When differences are negotiated negatively in the city through a hard spatial boundary, the outcome is a form of segregation and exclusion which reinforce existing social and economic inequalities. Spatially gated communities exacerbate urban sprawl and segregation by creating physical boundaries and barriers all over the city. Gated communities can also lead to privatisation of public spaces or the reservation of certain spaces for exclusive use by certain homogenous social groups. Spatially gated communities also change the nature of the existing public spaces or the reservation of certain spaces. Most people living in enclosed areas no longer make use of the street and public spaces. In south Africa, for instance it was observed that the dynamics of gated communities are producing increasingly a disparate and separate city. The gaps between the townships, the inner city and the suburb are widening. The chances that people of the city will develop a sense of shared space of shared destiny grow slimmer by the day.

8The experience in Ibadan metropolis differs from these conclusion in approach, expectations and results. Gating in Ibadan metropolis does not create social exclusion, rather it encourages people from different neighbourhoods to interact more and discuss more on the issues of security for the mutual benefit of the larger community. It appears all neighbourhoods assume criminals come from distant places, therefore there is no plan to segregate neighbourhood on account of suspicion of adjacent neighbourhood. Security plans and strategies are installed with the view that criminals can only come from outside the neighbourhoods.

9By nature enclosure and gated community physically separates a specific area from its environment and creates zones or pockets of restricted access with the urban fabric. This forces motorists and pedestrian to take alternative routes, which are often longer. Consequently, enclosed neighbourhoods impact on the daily activity pattern of the people as well as the urban form and its functioning. There are sharp contrasts in researchers’ opinion about gated communities, while some believe that gated communities encourages social exclusion. It is a choice of excluding others, some researchers show that enclosure encourage social inclusion through emergence of social cohesion on the principles of club goods, where people club together for individual mutual benefit.

10The study clearly depicts the spatial variation of crime occurrence in Ibadan metropolis and shows the differential approaches among neighbourhoods to combat crimes. The GIS database developed provides a means of updating and building scenario for the purpose of further research on privatisation of space in Nigerian cities.

© IFRA-Nigeria, 2004

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