The Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, is deeply concerned that murders in the Western Cape have increased by 11.2% compared to the previous quarter for the period of October to December 2020. This follows the release of the National Third Quarter Crime Statistics on 19 February 2021.
Minister Fritz said, “The under-resourcing of police stations in the hotspots remains a major cause of concern and I call on Minister Cele to urgently address the issue that has been brough to his attention many times. We cannot continue to have a system where a skewed and inequitable national system of SAPS resource allocation continues to disadvantage those communities that need SAPS the most. I reiterate my previous call for the entire system of resource allocation to be reviewed and modernised.”
Having received the Department of Community Safety’s analysis on the third quarter crime statistics, Minister Fritz notes that during the period under review, the Law Enforcement Advance Plan (LEAP) law enforcement officers, appointed through the Western Cape Safety Plan, were redeployed to five crime hotspots and are playing a significant role in reducing violent crime. Previously, our LEAP officers were deployed on a rotational basis, responding to COVID-19 compliance, land invasions, gang related shootings, while working to support SAPS in hotspot areas.
Overall, it must be noted that crime has decreased by 12.1% (12 424) from 102 484 in quarter 3 of 2019/20 to 90 060 in quarter 3 of 2020/21 in the province. The 17 Community reported serious crimes and total crime detected as a result of police action decreased by 10.2% and 20.1% respectively.
Minister Fritz said, “A decrease in crime in three consecutive quarters is encouraging as it suggests a reduction in the level of crime in the province, notwithstanding underreporting. It provides an opportunity to improve trust between communities and the police in the efforts to foster community cohesion and promote safety.”
Minister Fritz added further that the release of quarterly statistics is an improvement on previous practices of only giving such figures on an annual basis and will assist in the fight against crime, murder and violence in the province.
Western Cape Murder crime statistics
The Western Cape accounts for 11 of the top 30 murder stations in the county and these 11 police stations are within the City of Cape Town and recorded more than half (579) of the total murders (1 134) in the top 30 police stations. In the third quarter, Kraaifontein police precinct had the highest reported murders in the country and in the province with 84 murders marking a 100% increase from 42 reported the previous year’s third quarter. Delft follows with 80 murders for the period under review. Attempted murder increased by 15.5% (50) from 322 in quarter 3 of 2019/20 to 372 in quarter 3 of 2020/21 at the 11 priority areas.
The top 10 police stations in the province accounted for 48.3% (548) of murders. In line with the 11.2% increase in murder in the province, overall murders at the 10 top stations increased by 36.7% (147) from 401 to 548. In all the top 10 police stations murder increased, except in Gugulethu police precinct where a 11.3% (14) decrease was recorded. Worryingly, Manenberg and Harare police precinct were the two police stations that had the highest increase at 311.1% and 120% respectively in this quarter.
Minister Fritz said, “I note the release of the quarterly crime statistics on Friday which show that there has been an 11.2% increase in murders, compared to the previous quarter. An emerging trend is that violent crimes such as murder, attempted murder and sexual offences increased in the third quarter, whereas property related crimes showed decreases.”
While the majority of murders are caused by interpersonal violence (163), the most significant contributors towards the increase in murders in the third quarter were gang-related (187) and retaliation or revenge (129).
Minister Fritz added, “The third quarter crime statistics further coincided with the level 1 of the nationwide lockdown in South Africa as part of the COVID-19 crisis response and alcohol sale was unbanned until Monday, 28 December 2020 where the country moved to Alert Level 3 and the sale and dispensing of liquor was banned and a curfew was imposed from 21h00 to 06h00. The abuse of alcohol can be seen as a causal factor in the increase in murders. This again emphasizes the importance of targeted interventions to reduce alcohol related harms in the Western Cape.”
Redeployment of LEAP into 5 crime hotspots
As part of the Western Cape Safety Plan, 500 LEAP officers have been deployed to these crime hotspots, and they have played a significant role in assisting SAPS in their crime fighting endeavours. During the period under review, LEAP were redeployed to Delft, Nyanga, Khayelitsha, Bishop Lavis, and Hanover Park (Philippi).
Bishop Lavis had decreases of 44% in murder, 10% in attempted murder, 19.7% in common assault and 33.8% on robbery aggravated. Philippi recorded a decrease in the following categories: sexual offences (33.3%), common assault (25.8%), common robbery (57.9%) and robbery aggravated (16.7%). Delt recorded a 41.7% decrease in common robberies. Khayelitsha experienced a 21.3% increase in murder, 34.8% in attempted murder, 29.8% in sexual offences, and 22.3% in aggravated robbery. Nyanga experienced the highest increases with 26.1% in murder, 35.7% in attempted murder, 15.6% in common assault, 20.7% in common robbery and 32.2% in robbery aggravated.
Of the 5 LEAP priority stations, contact crime decreased in Philippi and Bishop Lavis. Reported murders increased in all 5 LEAP priority areas except, in Bishop Lavis which had a 44% decrease. Attempted murders decreased in Bishop Lavis and Delft with 10% and 1.9% respectively.
Contact crime changes at 5 LEAP deployment areas, 2019/20 to 2020/21 October - December
Minister Fritz said, “While LEAP were not long deployed in the hotspots during the period under review, we can see some changes compared to the previous quarter which can be attributed to their deployment.”
It is envisaged that a further 500 LEAP officers and 400 Safety Ambassadors will be deployed in the Cape Metro by the end of the financial year.
Concerning increases were seen in the sexual offenses, which includes rape, sexual assault, attempted sexual offences and contact sexual offences. In total, there was a 2% increase compared to the previous quarter. Additionally, rape increased by 7.6%, attempted sexual offences increased by 12.9% and contact sexual offences increased 8.6%, compared to the previous quarter. However, attempted sexual offences decreased by 15.4%.
Minister Fritz said, “The Western Cape accounted for 26.2% (6 446) of the domestic related crime in the country (24 565). The province is the highest in terms of the following domestic violence related crimes: murder, rape, sexual offences and robbery aggravated burglary residential. Overall, females and males accounted for 76.5% and 23.5% respectively of the total selected domestic related crime in the country (24 565).”
Minister Fritz has previously noted that he will raise the reports of backlogs in processing of DNA at the forensic science laboratories (FSL) at the upcoming MinMec as this will ensure that cases are not needlessly struck off the court roll.
Violence Prevention interventions
The Violence Prevention component of the Western Cape Safety Plan is crucial in our efforts to halve the murder rate in the province because a major part of it focusses on interventions which deal with psycho-social problems facing members our communities. These included dealing with underlying challenges such as inter-generational trauma, inability to deal with conflict, abuse of substances such as alcohol and drugs, and more.
Minister Fritz said, “Ultimately, the Western Cape Safety Plan will see us develop an integrated and holistic approach that strengthens law enforcement and society’s resilience to violent crime at all levels. Of which, we will particularly focus on the top 10 murder police stations to reduce murder in the province.”
Minister Fritz explained that the key to the implementation of the integrated Law enforcement and violence prevention arms of the Safety Plan was the establishment of 16 Area Based Teams (ABTs) across the top murder stations in the Metro and the broader Province.
Fritz said, “The violence prevention component of the Safety Plan will coordinate activities and strategies with the law enforcement part to ensure that we put in place integrated interventions informed by data and evidence. We are using data and evidence to ensure that the interventions are based on the real local drivers of murder and violence. We will further ensure that young people receive the necessary support to put them on pathway to responsible adulthood where they can draw on and become positive role models.”
Minister Fritz continued, “Our ABTs will be brought together in an outcomes based way, including all key Provincial government departments, their municipal counterparts as well as local community structures such as CPFs, NHWS, Faith Based Organisations and NGOs a track record of delivery in the field of violence prevention.”
Minister Fritz has pledged to continue to work with and build strong relationships with SAPS through the ABTs, stating that this ongoing partnership was already on a steady footing and that it would result in the decline of the violence and murder rates in the province going forward.
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