1999 Winner
Winners:
KwaZulu Natal Province, South Africa
1999
Publication:
Impumelelo Innovations Award Trust
Organization:
Impumelelo Innovations Award Trust
Jurisdiction:
South Africa
Pietermaritzburg-Msunduzi Inter-sectoral Anti-Crime Network is an umbrella body established to co-ordinate anti-crime activities in the region. Representatives from all major sectors serve on the body including central, provincial and local government, business, labour, non-governmental organizations, faith-based organizations, community organizations and political parties - more than 30 different organizations. The vision of the project is to foster integrated and effective local crime prevention programmes, while acknowledging the underlying causes of crime.

There are a range of projects which form part of the Network, and which intervene at different points on the crime prevention continuum. Four projects were selected for this award. The Edendale Anti-Crime Project is a joint initiative between local government and the South African Police Services which seeks to address the high crime rate in the area by promoting good working relationships between the SAPS, Pietermaritzburg-Msunduzi TLC and the communities of Greater Edendale.

Effectiveness: The Secure Care facility For Awaiting Trial Juveniles provides an appropriate secure care facility in the KZN Midlands region so that awaiting trial juveniles may be housed in secure and humane facility where the chances of rehabilitation are greater than in prison. The School Safety Plan has attempted to put in place a range of activities, focused on providing skills and opportunities to youth at disadvantaged schools, as well as focus on the issue of crime. Some of these projects are school safety patrols, Teenagers Against Drugs, an Adopt-a-Cop programme, and school protection and security.

The Plessislaer Victim Support Centre is run by the Centre for Criminal Justice, with support from the SAPS, and other NGOs, such as Nicro. Services are provided to all victims of crime, with an emphasis on women and children. The services of the Centre are aimed at assisting and empowering women and children from a disadvantaged environment, particularly with regard to their legal and human rights. The project provides a non-threatening environment within which victims of rape, domestic violence and child abuse can report the crime and be given legal advice and counseling.

These projects are good examples of service delivery, but their true value comes from the fact that they form part of a range of activities being undertaken by the Network. Other initiatives of the Network include projects focusing on enforcement of bylaws, truant school children, and the creation of a central collection point for casual labourers and informal street traders.

Since its beginnings, the arrest and conviction rate of criminals committing serious crime in the area has more than doubled, with the South African Police Services enjoying steadily growing acceptance and support from the communities in which they work .

"The success of the anti-crime network lies in the fact that all partners are committed to working together to create a secure and safe environment. This encourages investment and development in our city, which directly benefits all sectors of the community" Siphiwe Gwala, Mayor of Pietermaritzburg.

 
Innovation: The Network includes a diverse and integrated strategy of crime-busting and community empowerment. All anti-crime projects in the Network emphasize the underlying cause of crime, not the consequences.
 
Poverty impact: There is recognition that in many instances poverty lies at the heart of crime, and accordingly interventions such as education, job creation and training, rehabilitation and victim support and counseling are provided.
 
Replication: The integrated approach to crime can be replicated by any community-based policing forum who is prepared to focus on the cause of crime as part of its eradication, rather than only looking at its consequences. The Network was one of only two "local authorities" represented at the United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders held in Vienna in April 2000.