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Western Cape harnessing technology in its fight against crime with launch of safety dashboard

Premier Alan Winde said said the dashboard data, while not yet accessible to the public, was available to Western Cape safety stakeholders. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

Premier Alan Winde said said the dashboard data, while not yet accessible to the public, was available to Western Cape safety stakeholders. Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency(ANA)

Published May 27, 2022

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Cape Town - Law enforcement and others involved in safety across the Western Cape now have access to real-time crime data after Thursday’s launch of the province’s first-of-a-kind Safety Dashboard which is meant to bolster violence prevention and crime-fighting efforts.

Speaking at the launch, Premier Alan Winde said the province needed real-time data to not only guide its deployments based on past incidents, but to anticipate where new hot spots might appear so that they could deploy the necessary resources before lives were lost.

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He said the dashboard data, while not yet accessible to the public, was available to Western Cape safety stakeholders including the police, the provincial department of Police Oversight and Community Safety and the City.

“The dashboard is updated every three days and is being automated to further provide daily updates. It has been active since the end of March and is constantly being upgraded,” Winde said.

He said the safety dashboard would use the lessons learnt from the success of the province’s Covid-19 dashboard on the use of real-time data to make the province safer for all.

Winde was accompanied to the launch by Police Oversight and Community Safety MEC Reagen Allen and Health and Wellness MEC Nomafrench Mbombo.

Allen said the evidence-based and data-led deployments of Leap officers were previously made using the Department of Health and Wellness’s Forensic Pathology Services data.

“This data is used together with the Safety Dashboard and has helped to increase the number of firearms confiscated, determine where to deploy Leap, based on homicide incidents, establish a reaction unit, and successfully deploy Leap members through a 24-hour shift system, seven days a week.”

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Mbombo said the Safety Dashboard would support the establishment of the Health and Wellness Department’s Violence Prevention Unit, which was still in its developmental phase.

She said the dashboard was based on data entered at 34 health facilities in the Western Cape.

“It allows us to see the patterns of admissions into these emergency centres.”

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Provincial ANC community safety spokesperson Mesuli Kama said that even though there were 1 000 deployed Leap officers, the reality was that they were overstretched and what was needed was additional recruitment and deployment.

“The province must deploy the original 3 000 officers we were told about in 2019 and the police must expedite the process of addressing skewed allocation of resources from the leafy suburbs to the crime hot spots.”

ACDP MPL Ferlon Christians, himself a former City law enforcement officer, said the ACDP had always held the view that Leap officers were not a long-term solution-driven strategy.

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“We believe that police numbers or boots on the ground must increase significantly. Leap officers are temporarily deployed to hot spot areas and when they leave, crime escalates again.”

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Cape Argus

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