Research by Federico Varese inspires Cape Town student to develop crime prevention strategy

By monitoring social media and engaging with law enforcement agencies and healthcare facilities in hard-hit communities, gang-related violence could be prevented, suggests University of Cape Town student Zukile Ntentema.

The social work student has developed a crime prevention strategy inspired by ground-breaking research on organised crime by the Department of Sociology’s Professor Federico Varese. Ntentema’s strategy came to life after a discussion where Professor Varese stressed the importance of understanding how organised crime groups govern communities.

Last year, the Mexican Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice published a list naming the 50 most violent cities in the world. Four South African cities were featured – including Cape Town, which sits just outside of the top ten, primarily due to gang-related crime.

Ntentema’s strategy is designed to monitor, predict and prevent gang violence by logging incidents as they are reported on social media, as well as by enlisting healthcare facilities and law enforcement agencies to provide information in real-time, as cases of violence occur. Users will be able to monitor trends and identify the symptoms of gang violence as and when they happen, predicting outbreaks of violence and preventing situations from escalating.

More information about Ntentema’s developing strategy can be found here.

Image of Cape Town city centre

Cape Town / Photo by Zoë Reeve on Unsplash