Urban Research: CeaseFire Programme

The implementation of the CeaseFire Hanover Park Pilot Programme was carried out when I managed the project as the Head of Implementation VPUU/CoCT. Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading is a project of the City of Cape Town.

It employs a crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) approach that includes significant engagement with the local community through participatory processes, with a focus on mapping the community.

CeaseFire Hanover Park uses the expertise of reformed ex-gang members in interrupting violence and in offering alternative lifestyles and risk-reduction to young high-risk individuals.

For further information, go to - Lee Middleton depicting and accompanying Colin Barend in his work as a CeaseFire Interrupter.

The CeaseFire model is a data-driven approach located within Cure Violence, Public Health Department, University of Illinois. It was introduced in Hanover Park as the community entry project and seeks to stabilise the area, which has a high gang-related murder rate.

VPUU’s social crime prevention programmes such as this provide the basis for deep community engagement. The aim is to build trust between programme funders and the community and by laying the groundwork for further VPUU spatial interventions to follow.

Communities that experience continuous trauma are fragmented and divided, and community engagement is often difficult. Increasing community cohesion is a lengthy process.

The combination of crime and a reading of the spatial distribution of gang-related activities, paired with planned public space upgrades, has profoundly influenced and altered the CeaseFire monitoring and evaluation system.

Adaptations include the geolocation and territorial mapping of groups and activities. We ran an initial baseline questionnaire in a sample survey. Workshops explored young people’s experience of safety in and access to public space and safe routes to school.

We undertook community mapping of resources, and mapped groupings and crime hot spots.

These maps assist local NGOs and partners such as the Western Cape Government’s Safer Schools and Chrysalis Programmes that engage in partner activities with the CeaseFire team.