Cape Town – With violent gang wars raging in the Western Cape, murder statistics for Cape Town will be significantly higher than the rest of South Africa.
So said mayco member for safety and security JP Smith, who spoke on the eve of the release of the national crime statistics. Smith said It was unfortunate that gang murders reportedly made up more than half of the murders in Cape Town.
Police Minister Bheki Cele and police management are expected to brief the nation on the crime picture for the period April 2018 to March 2019.
According to the statistics released last year, 20336 people were murdered in South Africa, and the Western Cape had the dubious distinction of being home to seven of the 10 police stations with the highest rate of reported murders.
“As long as we are plagued by gang violence, it will continue to drive very high murder rate figures,” Smith said.
Director of the safety and violence initiative at UCT, Guy Lamb, said even with initiatives such as the Anti-Gang Unit and Operation Lock-Down, “there is going to be no impact in the crime statistics”.
He said there needed to be a better relationship between the police and communities, and more needed to be done.
Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said these statistics would assist policymakers “such as myself in making policy and decisions”.
He said that in previous years, “the Western Cape has been among the top three provinces racked by crime”.
“My department will conduct an in-depth analysis on these crime stats to shed more light on specific trends, crime categories and proposed responses.”
Fritz added that he would personally monitor statistics concerning murder, rape and sexual assault, driving under the influence of substances, carjacking, truck hijacking, cash-in-transit heists and possession of illegal firearms/ammunition.
“The statistics concerning rape and sexual assault will be telling in the face of recent protests.
“However, it should be noted that such incidents are often under- reported, and do not accurately reflect the extent of gender-based violence,” Fritz said.
“Ultimately, we all have a role to play in creating the safer communities we want to live in.
“More importantly, we all need to ensure the police remain accountable to the people they serve, and that the public is able to trust in the police’s capacity and capabilities to protect them.”
Bonteheuwel councillor Angus McKenzie said the murder rate would still show an increase on the Cape Flats. “Therefore, we still need more police officers on the ground.”