We developed a prototype tool and tested it with young people from Cape Town’s Cape Flats neighborhoods. We wanted to assess whether it was more effective than the traditional approach of improving safety awareness in two respects:
• Improving how “safe” the young people reported feeling.
• Reducing the number of violent events they experienced in the past week.
The tool had powerful effects. A randomized controlled trial found that young people in the treatment group were half as likely as the control group to participate in unsafe activities by the end of the study. The treatment population was also almost half as likely as the control group to report feeling unsafe, and half as likely to report experiencing violence in the past week.These results have significant implications for how we think about improving safety and reducing crime. In many parts of the world violent crime is a serious problem, with policy makers and practitioners alike looking to increased investment in enforcement as a way of mitigating the problem. This pilot project illustrates that supporting targeted decision-making and planning for both potential victims and perpetrators has the potential to significantly reduce violent crime.