This chapter presents a conceptual framework for understanding urban safety and security issues that relies on the concept of vulnerability. Vulnerability, as an analytical framework, has during recent years been increasingly used in a number of disciplines, including economics (especially in the study of poverty, sustainable livelihoods and food security), sociology and social anthropology, disaster management, environmental science, and health and nutrition.1 In these disciplines, vulnerability is often reduced to three fundamental elements – namely, risk, response and outcome, while the last two elements, in particular, are determined by the extent of resilience at various levels (i.e. individual, household, community, city and national levels).