Walking bus scheme for Hanover Park
Parents gather to protect children to, from school
GUN violence in Hanover Park has flared up, putting residents at risk, many of them school children.
A total of 102 gunshots were recorded between August 13 and 19 by the City of Cape Town’s ShotSpotter programme – the previous week 29 shots were recorded.
A 17-year-old boy was shot and killed, while another aged 15 sustained gunshot wounds to his legs and shoulder on Wednesday.
Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said no arrests had been made and they were yet to determine whether the shootings were gang-related. A murder and attempted murder case was registered for investigation.
JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security and social services, said ShotSpotter was a gunshot technology system piloted in August in 2014 in Hanover Park.
“The technology pinpoints precise locations where shots are fired within 30 seconds to one minute after an incident is logged on the system. Communities most affected by gunfire are least likely to report these shots to the police.”
He said the system provided real-time access to maps of shooting locations and gunshot audio, intelligence detailing the number of shooters and the number of shots fired and pinpoints locations.
“The dispatcher’s computer will show a red dot on a high-resolution map. Using proprietary algorithms, the system can also determine if a shot is coming from a moving vehicle, as well as the speed of travel of the vehicle.”
Although he said ShotSpotter has been working in Hanover Park, “policing is not effective without convictions and the current rate of convictions for gang-related crimes is disappointing”.
Meanwhile, to ensure safe passage to and from school, neighbouring Lansdowne residents have come together to ensure pupils walk to and from school in groups, a tactic referred to as a “walking bus”.
The concept, first launched by the Department of Community Safety in Wesbank in 2016, will begin in Lansdowne on September 7. There are 22 schools in the Lansdowne police precinct.
Lansdowne CPF’s Rafique Foflonker said: “Keeping our children safe especially during these vulnerable times before and after school is one of our main community policing priorities in Lansdowne.
“SAPS has offered to facilitate the screening and background checking process for the initiative and the CPF has extended a hand to incorporate the initiative into its precinct community safety forum and into the safety plan. We look forward to a healthy and sustainable partnership to enhance safety in our community.”
Dan Plato, MEC for community safety in the province, said since the initiative was launched in Wesbank there had been positive results.
“The walking bus initiative is an example of a pro-active community who know that safety is everyone’s responsibility. ”
Bronagh Hammond, spokesperson for the
Western Cape Education Department, said: “Walking bus schemes have been successfully implemented in the UK Ireland and Australia. It has been successfully initiated in a number of areas accommodating learners from various school in the Western Cape.
“At the heart of the initiative is the creation of a safe and supervised en-route environment for young learners ensuring that they do not endure harassment or intimidation on their way to school and back and are also protected from potential road and traffic hazards.”
She encouraged more communities to get involved with the initiative.
The SAPS Gang and Drug Task Team and Stabilisation Unit patrol Hanover Park. The area has seen an upsurge in gunrelated crime and residents fear for the safety of their children.