A provincial health department project to set up multi-disciplinary teams to tackle crime on several fronts in dangerous neighbourhoods has been launched in Hanover Park.
About 200 people attended the launch of the Hanover Park Area-Based Team at Freedom Square last Friday. It followed a march through Hanover Park in support of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign.
Each crime-prevention team is an alliance of SAPS, City Law Enforcement, social workers, and correctional services, according to provincial department of health spokeswoman Monique Johnstone. Each sector had a role to play in combating crime in Hanover Park, she said.
“The team will also consist of schools, hospitals, and social development. Sometimes people don’t report cases at police stations but at hospitals. The team will be based all around the community. Everyone will play their own role.”
Andile Zabeko, the deputy director of the violence prevention unit in the provincial health department’s Mitchell’s Plain/Klipfontein sub-district, said the department had identified 18 areas that needed crime prevention, including Hanover Park, Gugulethu, Nyanga, Philippi East, Mitchell’s Plain, Browns Farm and Crossroads, in the Mitchell’s Plain/Klipfontein sub-district.
“Our approach is in three phases. First, we will involve law enforcement, which is led by the police station; second will be social work, led by NGOs, social development, the department of education; and third will be urban design, including fixing broken lights, robots, open grounds, and vacant houses attracting crimes,” he said.
Crystal High School Grade 9 pupil Dreydin Prins said drug abuse was the biggest problem facing Hanover Park’s youth, who needed better role models than the gangsters they currently idolised.
“The environment is not safe for youngsters… The team needs to focus on youth because they are looking up to the wrong people. They need to see that there is a better way of life.”
Another Crystal High Grade 9, Yusra Jones, said the number of truant children increased daily and they were vulnerable to gang recruitment.
“Too many children are on the streets and not in school. That is how they get pulled into gangs, which puts more children on the streets instead of in school. They are always on the corners and eventually get hooked on drugs. The solution includes parenting better, be more strict. Send kids to school for as long as you can so they can be off the streets. The merchants are using young children to sell products. We need to get rid of them,” she said.
Mitchell’s Plain Community Police Forum cluster chairman Rafique Foflonker said Hanover Park was flagged as a red zone for domestic violence.
“Hanover Park needs social help, policing, and counselling resources because residents are traumatised. They need people they can trust to help them exit bad relationships and domestic violence relationships.
“We hope that this will turn the tide on gender-based violence and reduce the amount of incidents in the Hanover Park area. The community has a big role to play. The community themselves must step up and unite.”
Philippi police chief Colonel Adriaan Sauls said: “We will be based around the community. Everyone will play their own role. We will all combine and see to the prevention of crime.”