Delft Area-Based Team formally launched as WCG provides update on Violence Prevention Unit
During the Western Cape Government’s (WCG) update on the Violence Prevention Unit (VPU) today, the Department formally launched Delft’s Area-Based Team (ABT).
In this event, Premier Alan Winde, Western Cape Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, Western Cape Minister of Police Oversight and Community Safety, Reagen Allen, and Western Cape Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez were able to engage residents of the Delft community on this important addition to the ongoing implementation of the Safety Plan.
An Area-Based Team for safety (ABT) is a group of government and non-government stakeholders in a defined geographic area that come together with the aim of sharing experiential knowledge and data to jointly address prioiritised drivers of crime and violence in the crime hotspot areas.
In addition to the Delft ABT, there are other areas whose ABTs are also up and running and are in various stages of engagement. These include Phillipi, Mitchell's Plain, Atlantis, West Coast, Grabouw, Kraaifontein and Thembalethu.
This forms part of the commitment the Premier made in his 2022 State of the Province Address to establish the VPU in the Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness, which is using data from healthcare facilities to identify and design unique interventions to better address violence in our communities.
Working in the identified 18 ABT areas, the VPU has deployed various coordinators to facilitate and enable relationships between government and society. By fostering these engagements, we are able to enhance the overall effectiveness and impact of services that contribute to promoting safety and reducing violence.
Between August and October this year, 156 stakeholder engagements had taken place between all safety stakeholders. These include SAPS, the NPA and different government departments to name a few.
As this event coincides with the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign, Minister Sharna Fernandez added, “Evidence and experience have proven how effective whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches are at preventing and reducing social ills like gender-based violence. We are looking forward to working with ABTs in the hotspot areas. We’ve seen a collaborative approach can bring about impactful positive change, and I am sure that will be the case with the VPU in Delft where we will work with all stakeholders to create a coordinated approach, underpinned by mutual respect, learning, and a common purpose."
Emphasising the important role of communities in crime prevention, Minister Reagan Allen stated that, “Our Western Cape Safety Plan, which is our strategic guide to achieve safety across the entire province, makes it pertinently clear that both law enforcement and violence prevention is required if we’re to address crimes in our communities. There has to be a link and the one component has to compliment the other.”
“Today, we demonstrate how the WCG is ensuring both components are working simultaneously to create safer communities for residents. Already from a law enforcement perspective, we’ve deployed our LEAP officers in thirteen of the most violent areas in the cape metro. Delft itself, has a deployment of more than 140 LEAP officers. This entire deployment is based on data, evidence and where the need is greatest, as our aim is to reduce crime in our communities,” continued Minister Allen.
Highlighting the impact of crime on the healthcare system, Minister Nomafrench Mbombo said, “The health system is the frontline of all social ills in society. As with poverty, illnesses or any effects of strained socioeconomic conditions, crime-related trauma has a significant impact on our facilities and can be seen in the impact it has on our emergency centres. By using the vast amounts of data in our Department, we are able to better understand what is happening in our communities. The addition of the VPU will greatly assist in our efforts to address the social determinants of health, of which crime plays a massive role.”
Speaking to the Safety Plan, Premier Alan Winde concluded the event by saying, “At the heart of the Western Cape Government’s efforts to address crime proactively and reactively is our Safety Plan. Unacceptably high levels of crime constitute a serious and complex challenge to our province’s progress. To better understand and confront crime and associated social ills the Safety Plan is rooted in data and evidence. The VPU is a prime example of one of our interventions which leverages health data to better make use of healthcare and safety/crime-fighting resources. The VPU will help reinforce the Safety Plan ensuring its success is reducing violent crime. We must acknowledge that there is still a lot of work ahead of us in making our province safer. We will never give up and will continue and deepen our data-led approach to addressing crime.”