Crime Stats 2015 – Violent crime is highest where SAPS is most under-resourced
Statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
An analysis of the 2014/15 crime stats clearly demonstrates how criminal activity is escalating in the Western Cape.
Where SAPS is most under-resourced, crime is highest. A major driver of criminal activity is the scourge of illegal liquor outlets, alcohol and drug abuse. This requires a comprehensive response from the authorities.
The national South African Police Service (SAPS) management need to intervene as a matter of urgency if we are to combat crime in the province as a united front.
Crime is a national competence. As part of our oversight role on policing in the Western Cape we are today presenting a detailed analysis of crime trends in the province.
It is more essential than ever for specialised units, including the gang and drug units, to be reintroduced to curb gangsterism and drugs in the Western Cape.
National Police Minister, Nathi Nhleko, has seemingly changed his mind since the commitment he made in May 2015 to ensure the reintroduction of these units.
In a recent written response to a parliamentary question put to Minister Nhleko, he admits that: “There is no intention in the Annual Performance Plan 2015/16 to reintroduce any additional specialised units”.
The Minister’s position is unacceptable to Western Cape residents facing the daily turmoil of gangsterism, alcohol and drug abuse in their communities. We will do everything in our power to fight on their behalf for the policing resources so desperately needed.
The stark reality of crime in the Western Cape compared to the rest of South Africa is evident in the following indicators:
- Drug Related Crime accounts for 33.2% of cases nationally. This has been the case for the past 10 years
- Murder is increasing annually and accounts for almost a fifth of all murders in the country (17.9%)
- Robbery with aggravating circumstances in the province accounts for 17.9% of the national total, increasing annually
- Common robbery accounts for a quarter (24.4%) of the national total, making the Western Cape the 2nd hardest hit province by common robbery for the last three years running.
- Illegal possession of firearms: The Province accounts for a fifth (19.6%) of all cases nationally
The communities where SAPS resources are most needed are easily identified in the crime statistics.
In many cases, nearly half of all Violent Contact Crimes reported are concentrated in the 10 worst affected police precincts.
This contact crimes category includes: murder, attempted murder, assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, common robbery, robbery with aggravating circumstances and sexual offences.
The precincts are:
- Mitchells Plain
- Bishop Lavis
The Top 10 worst affected precincts for Drug Related Crime in 2014/15 are:
- Mitchells Plain (4 768 cases)
- Kraaifontein (3 357 cases)
- Manenberg (3 191 cases)
- Delft (3 035 cases)
- Bishop Lavis (2 738 cases)
- Cape Town Central (2 360 cases)
- Philippi (2 067 cases)
- Lentegeur (1 933 cases)
- Atlantis (1 853 cases)
- Gugulethu (1 708 cases)
Our analysis of the crime stats found that these precincts account for:
- 47.7% of all Murder cases reported in the province
- 47.7% of all Attempted Murder cases
- 24.7% of all Assault with the intent to do Grievous Bodily Harm cases
- 37.7% of all Common Robbery cases
- 37.4% of all Robbery with Aggravating Circumstances cases
- 28.6% of all Sexual Offences cases
- 30.4% of all Drug Related Crime (these stations also happen to be most affected by gang activity)
- 47.3% of the total illegal possession of firearms and ammunition cases in the province
SAPS are failing to provide the policing resources needed to confront the crime epidemic in these communities.
Recent police to population figures provided to my office by the provincial SAPS, show that the stations worst affected by crime in the province have ratios more than twice the national average of 1 officer for every 358 people.
The worst police to population ratios include:
- Harare – 1:878
- Nyanga – 1:777
- Delft – 1:693
- Mfuleni – 1:671
- Kraafontein – 1:642
- Gugulethu – 1:619
- Khayelitsha – 1:556
These police to population ratios make it abundantly clear why communities are complaining about a breakdown in the relationship with the police. The limited resources are hampering visible policing efforts.
It is a fact that 85% of all police stations in the province are functionally under-resourced.
Recruitment figures by the SAPS for the Western Cape show how, since 2009, there has been a steady disinvestment of manpower in the province:
- 2009 – 1967 new recruits
- 2010 – 383 new recruits
- 2011 – 912 new recruits
- 2012 – 234 new recruits
- 2013 – 222 new recruits
- 2014 – 549 new recruits
Though recruitment figures increased in 2014, this is completely overshadowed by the 770 SAPS police officers who left the service in 2014/15.
SAPS need to properly resource the precincts hardest hit by crime, while working with the provincial and local governments to create safer environments.
The Western Cape government is channelling significant public investments into communities such as Manenberg, Khayelitsha and Nyanga, and we need SAPS to work with us to create a safer environment for residents.
In the 2014/15 financial year, the Department of Community Safety (DoCS) led several targeted safety interventions in communities where it is most needed.
For the Mitchells Plain cluster in 2014/15:
- 110 safety partners have been registered on DoCS’ Community Organisation Database;
- 55 Neighbourhood Watch Members were trained and provided with essential equipment such as reflective bibs, boots and torches;
- 11 faith based organisations were supported through the Youth Safety and Religious Partnership (YSRP) - R247 800 investment into youth safety during holidays;
- 94 School Safety Marshals deployed at 42 schools in the Mitchells Plain police cluster, with a total amount of R 1.6 million spent on stipends for the School Safety Marshals in 2014/15 financial year.
For the Nyanga cluster in 2014/15:
- 42 safety partners were registered on DOCS’ Community Organisation Database;
- 257 Neighbourhood Watch members were trained and provided with equipment
- The Youth Safety and Religious Partnership saw 13 faith based organisation partner with DoCS in the Nyanga cluster – R418 000 investment into youth safety during holidays; and
- 129 School Safety Marshals were deployed at 48 schools in the Nyanga. A total amount of R1.9 million was spent on stipends for the School Safety Marshals in 2014/15 financial year.
The Department of Community Safety will continue our key programmes, including the Youth Safety and Religious Partnership (YSRP); FET college partnerships; the Chrysalis Academy; support for City Improvement Districts (CIDs), Neighbourhood Watches (NHWs) and Community Policing Forums (CPFs); the Watching Briefs initiative; and support for the office of the Provincial Police Ombudsman.
We are also working with the SAPS on implementing all the recommendations of the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry.
We will continue to support the efforts by Acting Provincial Police Commissioner, Major General Thembisile Patekile, and the dedicated men and women in blue who are working to make this province safer.
The Western Cape Government will not be deterred from our oversight role over policing in the province.
We are determined to ensure a higher standard of policing, proper resources, and a stronger relationship between residents and SAPS.
Spokesperson for Minister Dan Plato
Cell: 079 694 1113
Spokesperson for Premier Helen Zille
Cell: 071 564 5427