Ocean View residents attended a community meeting at the multi-purpose centre on Thursday 10 October to find out how the provincial minister of community safety aims to cater to their safety needs, and to voice their own concerns.
During the meeting community safety minister, Albert Fritz, broke down his provincial safety plan, while ward 69 councillor, Simon Liell-Cock, and councillor for ward 61, Patricia Francke, were able to address residents’ hyperlocal questions.
Fritz detailed his plan for the next three years:
. Deploy 3 000 new law enforcement officers using data-led technology.
. Train 150 new investigators.
. Implement an integrated, evidence-led violence prevention programme.
. Each minister will be assigned a safety priority to be accountable for.
In the next 12 months:
. Support to 10 000 children and caregivers for the first 1 000 days of the child’s life.
. Identify most at-risk families and roll-out parenting programmes.
. Reduce violence in schools through programmes for teachers and learners.
. Enrol 8 000 children in programmes to keep them busy in the afternoons.
. Expand the partnership with Chrysalis Academy.
Fritz’s plans were met with questions regarding the needs of the Ocean View community specifically.
Francke broached the subject of law enforcement in the community and urged Fritz to deploy officers to the area, which is ridden with crime. Liell-Cock added that at least two of these officers must be stationed at the high school to prevent the youth from falling victim to crime, drugs and gangsterism.
Jean Pierre Vigis, one of the residents in attendance, posed a question based on the theory of defensible space by American city planner, Oscar Newman.
According to Newman, the four crime reducing characteristics of spatial planning include facilitating natural surveillance, grouping properties to create a sense of community, outlining clear paths of movement and creating activity hubs close to living spaces.
“The crime is so high because the level of spatial planning is so low. I want to know where the security and safety planning ties in with spatial planning,” Vigis asked.
Sharone Daniels posed a number of questions regarding projects planned in the past four years which have not yet come to fruition. “The Mayor’s Urban Regeneration Plan (Murp) was supposed to be rolled out in the community. We put together a community action plan and we have put together things for safety and security – which includes food security.
“What has your department done with that information,” she inquired.
A number of the residents in attendance were interested to find out about the progress of Murp.
Mastoerah Williams suggested collaboration with officials in Bonteheuwel, based on her observation of the obvious reduction in crime in the area, to assist in having the same effect in Ocean View.
Penning all their concerns, Fritz added that one of his priorities is to encourage neighbourhood watch groups to get accredited, so that the department will be able to better support them, which in turn will improve other structures in the community.
“And let us work with the local CPF and work with the community’s people to form an Ocean View safety forum,” he added.
The officials at the meeting assured residents that their concerns would not fall on deaf ears, promising that plans would be formed and the community would be engaged to form solutions.