LEAP confiscates 7 illegal firearms in one week
Between 5 - 11 September 2022, Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP) officers confiscated 7 illegal firearms and arrested of 179 individuals for a variety of crimes. LEAP is an initiative of the Western Cape Government (WCG) and is run in partnership with the City of Cape Town.
This confiscation of the firearms occurred in Lavender Hill, Bishop Lavis, Delft, Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain and Mfuleni. The data from the Department of Health’s Forensic Pathology Services (FPS) shows that there were 80 homicides during this period, and of these 36 (45%) can be attributed to shootings. This is 15 fewer homicides than the previous week.
In the province so far this year 48% of all homicides can be attributed to gun shots.
Minister Reagen Allen said: “With each illegal firearm removed off our streets, we’re ensuring that lives are saved, and lives are changed. Every day, in our communities, young children and adults alike are exposed to the sound of gunfire ringing out, the trauma of which will have life-long impacts, with some children losing their way as a result, and perpetuating the cycle of violence. By taking guns away, we’re giving back a chance at a brighter future. I was devastated yesterday to learn of a 17-year-old being sentenced to 68 years behind bars. This child had access to a gun, and he used it to commit multiple murders. A gun should never have reached his hands in the first place. This is part of the reason why LEAP and all law enforcement have made it their mission to remove illegal firearms. Less guns = less murder.”
In this same time period, LEAP officers have amongst others:
- Searched 7 125 persons
- Searched 306 houses
- Conducted 1 135 patrols in hotspot areas
- Conducted 81 roadblocks
- Searched 748 vehicles
Of the 179 persons that were arrested, 8 were arrested for the possession of an illegal firearm, 11 for the possession of illegal ammunition, 3 for the possession of an imitation firearm, 96 for the possession of drugs and 14 for the possession of dangerous weapons. Confiscations and all other arrests occurred in the various areas where LEAP is deployed.
As LEAP officers work with a multitude of law enforcement agencies, they conducted 187 joint and Integrated operations with other City of Cape Town Law Enforcement Agencies and SAPS.
“I commend the officers and all their partners for not letting up in chasing down criminals. It is vital that this type of pressure and visibility continues, as our aim is to reduce the murder rate by 50% by 2029. The guns removed from our streets in the past week will aid this goal,” continued Minister Reagen Allen.
LEAP officers stem from the WCG’s Safety Plan, which was initiated in September 2019. The Safety Plan, which is the brainchild of Premier Alan Winde, came about as a result of the WCG’s commitment to address the high murder rate in the province. The primary aim is to reduce the murder rate by 50% by 2029. The Western Cape Government and City of Cape Town work in partnership to deliver LEAP.
These officers are deployed in a strategic, data-led and evidence-based manner to those locations where they can make the biggest difference in turning around negative crime statistics. This includes our top 10 murder areas in the Western Cape, such as Delft, Gugulethu, Harare, Khayelitsha (Site B policing precinct), Kraaifontein, Mfuleni, Mitchells Plain, Nyanga, Philippi East, and Samora Machel. Other high crime areas in which they are deployed are Atlantis, Bishop Lavis and Hanover Park, along with Lavender Hill, Steenberg and Grassy Park.
LEAP incorporates information from the WCG’s Safety Dashboard. This dashboard is providing real-time data to provincial safety stakeholders and helps identify exactly where the LEAP officers are most required. This strengthens our hand to anticipate where new hotspots may appear so that we can deploy the necessary resources to prevent crime and save lives. The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) data is set to be integrated with the Safety Dashboard, to provide us with a more complete picture of violence and trauma in the province, upon which we can launch our LEAP response.
“We should all put shoulder to the wheel and be united in the fight against crime, as neither LEAP, nor its partners in the City of Cape Town or SAPS would be able to combat crime alone,” concluded Minister Allen.