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Although we would love to live in communities where doors are perennially on the latch, security is a serious priority in modern cities. But for all the talk of locks, cameras and alarms, there is nothing like the intuition and human presence of the concierge to create a secure and sociable neighbourhood.

They are security guards and community linchpins in one: vetting visitors and helping residents with everything from heavy shopping to screaming babies. From the uniformed, white-gloved doormen of New York to a group of men who keep one of Chile’s…

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