Western cape introduces rural safety desk to combat crime

Johannesburg – The Western Cape Department of Agriculture (WCDoA) has established a Rural Safety Desk and a Rural Safety Monitoring Dashboard to combat crime and create safer communities.

Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Ivan Meyer said, “The desk provides a platform for the public, farmers/producers, Agri-workers and agricultural stakeholders to log enquiries, queries, and matters on rural safety. Information logged via the desk is populated on the WCDoA’s innovative Rural Safety Monitoring Dashboard.”

The digital platform uses a combination of technology tools like mobile and web-mapping applications established in concurrence with Enterprise GIS-solution.

Meyer confirmed that the purpose of the Dashboard is to monitor rural safety incidents reported within the agricultural environment.

Forty cases have recently been logged on the Rural Safety Dashboard.

Meyer said, “The Dashboard will assist in identifying rural crime hotspots as well as inform data-led rural safety interventions to improve safety within rural and agricultural communities across the province. A spatial representation of incidences of crime enables us to develop appropriate strategies in response to the safety needs of our farming communities.”

The spokesperson of WCDoA, David Johnson, said that majority of the recorded cases on the dashboard have been related to the theft of farming equipment.

“Communities have also reported a number of cases related to burglaries in the area. The safety desk is not just aimed at farm attacks being reported, it is also about the people who live in farming communities” Johnson further added.

The information gathered via the Rural Safety Help Desk and Monitoring Dashboard will be shared to the South African Police Service and the Department of Community’s Court Watching Brief Unit.

“The Court Watching Brief Unit assists with making follow-ups on rural safety-related cases. Furthermore, the Unit’s representatives attend court sessions with the sole purpose to ensure that rural crime-related cases are successfully prosecuted,” Meyer said.

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