This discussion paper sets forth the lessons on urban vulnerability and safety, relevant to the security sector, emerging from coronavirus (Covid-19) and its related socioeconomic impacts on urban societies in low- and middle-income countries.

The paper is structured as four sections: section one describes in brief the direct and indirect impacts of Covid-19. Section two describes the impacts of Covid-19 on the incidence of crime, violence, and insecurity. Section three summarises the emerging lessons for the security sector, highlighting in the utmost, the need for humane interventions that are tuned to gendered, localised and rapidly evolving risks and vulnerabilities; the enforcement of lockdown and social distancing measures without undue persecution, particularly of informal and other potentially stigmatised livelihoods; and for safety to be implemented at city-scale and through integrated responses. Section four concludes with reflections on how safer cities programming, including the UN’s System-Wide Guidelines on Safer Cities, as well as the Global Network on Safer Cities, might lead the required transformations.