Crime Stats 2015 – Khayelitsha violent crimes still a threat to safety
Statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
There were 7962 violent crimes in the last year alone in the greater Khayelitsha community, consisting of the precincts of Khayelitsha, Harare and Lingelethu West. This is according to the latest crime stats at station level.
At 41.2% of all crimes committed, the greater Khayelitsha’s proportion of violent crime, captured in contact crimes (crimes against the person), is considerably higher than the rest of the province (27.99%) and that of South Africa as a whole (34.4%).
The alarming state of violent crime is a clear sign that safety of residents in Khayelitsha remains under major threat.
Violent crime reflects the level of safety in our society as it concerns crimes committed directly against a person, as National Police Minister, Nathi Nhleko, stated at the release of the crime stats this week.
To improve the safety of the people in Khayelitsha, it is imperative that all the recommendations made by the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry be implemented.
I trust that the workings of the joint task team will resolve the implementation deadlock as a matter of urgency.
The Commission identified serious policing deficiencies, including substantial understaffing of at least two police stations in the area.
It found that the SAPS could not provide an explanation as to why police stations with high crime rates and difficult policing environments should have the lowest police to population ratios in the province.
When analysing the individual components of violent crime in the greater Khayelitsha area, and how they relate to one another, interesting observations are made:
- Aggravated robbery is up 124.1% over 5 years (13.4% up since last year). Common robbery is also up 45.5% over 5 years. In the last year, the increase in aggravated robbery, and simultaneous decrease in common robbery, suggests that robberies in Khayelitsha are becoming more violent. This crime is also increasingly happening in people’s personal space, their homes. Robberies and burglaries at residential properties in the greater Khayelitsha have also seen increases over both the five year period and since last year.
- Attempted murder is up 47.1% over the last five years (2010/11 – 2014/15), with an increase of 11.9% since last year, despite a 7.6% decline in actual murder this year. Attempted murder rates are heavily influenced by the actions of gangsters and gang related activity, according to past SAPS interpretations of this crime.
- Common assault is up 47.5% over the last five years, and 11.3% since 2013/14. Assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm showed a minimal decrease of 3.4% over five years, suggesting this crime has stabilized at high levels with 1 366 cases reported in the last year alone.
- There are also increases in illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, as well as increases in drug related crime. The prevalence of guns remains a major concern especially in the light of increases in attempted murder and aggravated robbery. While an increase in incidents is at times attributed to increased policing operations targeting these crimes, a decrease should follow the up-tick if operations are having the desired impact.
- The greater Khayelitsha area still appears to experience under-reporting of sexual offences across all three police precincts and has recorded decreases of 14.6% over the five year period yet increased by 1.1% in the last year.
Violence cannot be left to escalate and drown out the social fabric which forms a community.
The SAPS cannot combat crime alone. Safety is everyone’s responsibility and the police need to work with communities to root out criminals.
The Department of Community Safety will continue to partner with Neighbourhood Watches and Community Policing Forums (CPFs). In the year under review, the greater Khayelitsha CPFs only accessed a third of their available funding. The Department will ensure this is improved upon in the current financial year.
The Western Cape Government only has an oversight mandate over policing in the province, yet we extend our support to the SAPS, communities and organisations who, in a whole of society approach, aim to help create safer environments where people live, work and move about.
Investments in the greater Khayelitsha community, partnerships and interventions for the year under review include:
- At least 29 organisations on our community safety database;
- R351 500 supported 11 organisations through our Youth Safety and Religious Partnership programme; and
- R947 520 supported 64 School Marshals deployed at 18 schools in the greater Khayelitsha area.
The first responsibility of the Western Cape Government lies with the people of Khayelitsha and we remain steadfast in seeing that the Commission of Inquiry recommendations are implemented.
Spokesperson for Minister Dan Plato
Cell: 079 694 1113
Spokesperson for Premier Helen Zille
Cell: 071 564 5427