Walk­ing bus scheme for Hanover Park

Par­ents gather to pro­tect chil­dren to, from school

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS - TANYA PETERSEN

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.

PIC­TURE: DAVID RITCHIE/AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY(ANA)

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.

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