The City of Johannesburg’s Public Safety Department has stepped up its fight against crime by launching a new and aggressive campaign aimed at taking the youth away from criminal activities and steering them towards projects that will benefit society.
The launch of the campaign came in the wake of the release by Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko of the 2013-2014 crime statistics, which showed an increase in violent crimes and house robberies in the country.
The City’s public safety officials have over the past two weeks been crisscrossing Soweto townships, giving talks on the new measures to improve public safety in their neighbourhoods.
Members of the community also had the opportunity to express their fears and concerns, as well as their suggestions and ideas on how best to secure their neighbourhoods.
Violent crime and drug abuse were singled out as two of the biggest causes for concern.
The public safety campaign, called the “Public Safety Youth Focal Point”, is run in collaboration with stakeholders such as the Department of Education, the Department of Transport and the South African Police Service.
It focuses on general safety, particularly among young people, including those attending school and the unemployed.
The programme covers substance abuse awareness, bylaw compliance, prison tours, road safety and career opportunities in the public safety field.
“Safety is an issue that is paramount in the minds of Johannesburg residents. Crime continues to impact negatively on the city,” said City of Johannesburg Member of the Mayoral Committee on Public Safety Councillor Sello Lemao.
He said focus should not be limited to violent crime. Substance abuse, bylaw compliance, road safety, schools environment and emergency management should also be given adequate attention, MMC Lemao added.
“Johannesburg has a youthful population and a large number of them live in difficult conditions that may lead to vulnerability and desperation. Many young people continue to be perpetrators of crime and a threat to the safety [of others],” he said.
“Young people, especially young males, are considerably more at risk of being convicted of crime than older males, or females of any age group.”
It is within this context that the City’s Department of Public Safety wants to engage the youth and, together with the community, conduct awareness campaigns aimed at:
Educating young people on public safety;
Ensuring schools and communities are drug free;
Promoting and encouraging a healthy lifestyle;
Promoting road safety;
Addressing safety issues in communities and schools; and
Creating a regulated schools’ environment.
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