We can beat escalating crime in Khayelitsha
The release of the crime statistics for South Africa on 29 September 2015 made it clear that the rise in violent crime in Khayelitsha continues to threaten the safety of its residents.
Violent crime reflects the level of safety in our society and it concerns crimes committed directly against a person, as National Police Minister Nathi Nhleko, stated at the release of the crime statistics this week.
- Aggravated robbery increased by 124.1% over 5 years, with an increase of 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 5 year period and since last year.
- Attempted murder increased by 47.1% over the last 5 years, 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 increased by 47.5% over the last 5 years, and 11.3% since 2013/14. Assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm showed a minimal decrease of 3.4% over 5 years, suggesting this crime has stabilised 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 3 police precincts (Khayelitsha, Harare and Lingelethu) and has recorded decreases of 14.6% over the 5 year period yet increased by 1.1% in the last year.
Working Better Together to make our communities safer
Violence can't be left to escalate and drown out the social fabric which forms a community.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) can't combat crime alone. Safety is everyone’s responsibility and the police need to work with communities to root out and apprehend criminals.
To improve the safety of the people in Khayelitsha, it's imperative that all the recommendations made by the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry be implemented.
The Commission identified serious policing deficiencies, including substantial understaffing of at least 2 police stations in the area. We can beat escalating crime if SAPS acts now to implement the Khayelitsha Commission's recommendations:
- Sign a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Department of Community Safety.
- Community policing commitments for every police station.
- Efficient detective services.
- Visible policing guidelines in informal neighbourhoods.
- Monthly crime statistics released at station-level.
- Vigilante killings strategy for better responses and investigations.
- Better infrastructure at police stations.
- More trained police officers to combat crime.
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 SAPS, the communities and organisations who, in a whole of society approach, aim to help create safer environments where people live, work and move about.
We will also review our investments, partnerships and other interventions in the greater Khayelitsha community that have been planned for the year. This includes the:
- almost 29 organisations on our community safety database,
- R351 500 allocated to support 11 organisations through our Youth Safety and Religious Partnership programme, and
- R947 520 allocated to support and employ 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 committed to seeing that the Commission of Inquiry's recommendations are implemented and to improve the safety of every Khayelitsha resident.