The "Safer Streets" project was established to create a safe and secure environment for the people in Pietermaritzburg, in light of the rising crime rate.
Innovation: Emphasis is placed on addressing the root causes of crime rather than the symptoms of crime and hence a shift was made from being re-active to being pro-active. As a result ongoing Crime Prevention Operations in the Pietermaritzburg Central Area were intensified. The Station Bicycle Squad is utilized to enhance visible policing and promote social crime prevention. Project THROB was initiated to police nightclubs and liquor outlets in an attempt to target teenagers under 18 years. The Station GOCOC-Structure, based on the National Crime Prevention Strategy documents, was established. They discuss matters of Social Crime Prevention and established task teams to facilitate the process. Sector policing has already proven to be successful.
The concept involves dividing the policing area into smaller, more manageable sizes. The project management proceeded to get all the major role players involved. The success of the project lies in the fact that the organizations involved feel that they own the project. The project has made significant progress. For the period April 2000 to February 2001 they have recorded a decrease of 6,2% in serious crimes. April-July 2001 shows a decrease of 39% in the More Preventable Crimes category and a 12,6% decrease in the serious cases reported. Three shoplifting gangs have been arrested and gamblers have been displaced out of the Central Business District (CBD). The street children project has been a great success. The issue of prostitution is addressed by promoting skills development and employment. Liquor and second-hand goods outlets are regularly checked to ensure that they comply with the law.
Poverty Impact: The reduction in crime has created customer confidence, which has encouraged local and foreign investment in the CBD. A number of small businesses have been established which created more job opportunities. It is imperative that all role players concerned remain on board.
Sustainability: Unfortunately funding will be a problem due to budget constraints in government departments. A monthly GOCOC meeting is held to ensure the continuity of various projects.