WC Government disappointed at latest murder statistics
Joint Media Release: Western Cape Government disappointed at latest murder statistics, but commits to intensifying war on crime
The release of the 2nd quarter crime statistics, covering the period from July to September 2023 for the 2023/24 financial year, revealed that the Western Cape recorded a 10.9% increase in murder. This is an increase of 114 murders from 1050 murders during the 2nd quarter of the 2022/23 financial year to 1164 in 2023/24.
In addition to this, the figures also confirmed earlier concerns that murder in the Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP) deployment areas increased overall by 18.6% from 547 cases in 2022/23 to 649 in 2023/24, when compared with the same period in the last financial year.
The areas where LEAP is operational are Delft, Gugulethu, Harare, Khayelitsha (Site B policing precinct), Kraaifontein, Mfuleni, Mitchells Plain, Nyanga, Philippi East, and Samora Machel. Other high-crime areas where officers are deployed are Atlantis, Bishop Lavis and Hanover Park, along with Lavender Hill, Steenberg, and Grassy Park.
The statistics demonstrate that overall, there was an increase in murder in LEAP areas. LEAP deliberately targets the areas where crime is highest and are our officers are deployed in some of the most challenging and difficult areas in the Western Cape. They account for most of the increases in murder. When excluding the LEAP areas, murder in the Western Cape increased by 2.4.
There is a clear need for the South African Police Service (SAPS) to focus its policing resources in these areas. The Western Cape Government (WCG) will continue to deploy additional law enforcement resources to target the areas that are most in need to improve safety for our residents.
Decreases in homicides were recorded in the following three areas in which LEAP officers are deployed:
- Kraaifontein (11.1%)
- Nyanga (11.3%)
- Philippi East (14.8%)
Increases in homicides were recorded in the following areas in which LEAP officers are deployed:
- Bishop Lavis (192.9%)
- Delft (15.9%)
- Gugulethu (55.9%)
- Harare (20.8%)
- Khayelitsha (2.1%)
- Mfuleni (56.5%)
- Mitchells Plain (35.5%)
- Philippi (56.3%) and
- Samora Machel (26.5%)
There was no change in Atlantis.
The Western Cape Government is analysing the possible contributing factors that lead to increase in homicides in the Western Cape during the 2nd Quarter:
- The violent mini-bus taxi strike in August 2023 saw criminal elements take advantage of the environment. This contributed to higher levels of crime, including murder.
- Several mass murders took place during the period under review, including two mass murder incidents in Gugulethu where 5 victims were killed in two cases which contributed to a sharp increase in reported murders.
- The SAPS figures reflect that arguments/misunderstandings contributed to the majority of murders (or 33%).
- Gang-related killings remain an ongoing concern in the Western Cape, with 223 of the 280 gang-related murders nationally occurring in this province (accounting for 78%). Gang-related murders accounted for 29% of the known causes of murder in the Western Cape.
- Robbery-related murders accounted for 14% of the murders.
- 7 police officers were killed on duty in this quarter.
SAPS also released the annual crime statistics for 2022/23 today. Murder increased nationally by 9.2% to 27 494, while murder in the Western Cape increased by 1% to 4 150.
Murders had seen an encouraging decrease in the Western Cape. Murders went down by 5.5% in the first quarter of 2023/24. Premier Alan Winde said, “The latest figures are disappointing and worrying. But they show that we need to double down and intensify all our efforts to more effectively address violent crime. We need to be even more diligent in strengthening our coordination with the SAPS, municipal law enforcement, and community-based organisations through our data-led, evidence-based approach to policing. The current national policing model is failing our residents. Chronic and consistent under-resourcing in our province is also clearly a deadly factor that has reversed our initial gains in pushing down murders.”
Provincial Minister of Police Oversight and Community Safety, Reagen Allen continued, “The Western Cape is committed to doing everything in its power to turn this situation around.”
Premier Winde added that apart from being reactive to dealing with crime, the WCG is also investing heavily in becoming more proactive in addressing the root causes of crime. “Job creation is key to uplifting communities, reducing poverty, and keeping at-risk youth out of harm’s way. We are also using health data to better inform and guide how we use health resources to respond to violent crime. This kind of data, along with crime statistics and other sources of information, also give us valuable insights into crime trends.”
A report compiled and released this week by the Institute for Security Studies reveals that overall murder rates over the long term are showing a downward trend in the Western Cape. Importantly, the per-capita murder rate in the province has decreased over the past 5 years, which does demonstrate that over the longer-term the WCG’s interventions are making a difference.
The report states, “In 2022/23, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape jointly had the second-highest annual rate of 56 per 100 000. This represents a major increase in the KwaZulu-Natal rate, but a decline compared to the 2019/20 Western Cape rate. The KwaZulu-Natal rate was 43 per 100 000 in 2019/20.” Overall murder has dropped by 1,4% in the Western Cape from 2017/18 to 2022/3 in stark contrast to other provinces.
The Premier emphasised, “Our interventions are having an impact. We cannot and will not give up in striving to make the Western Cape a safer and more prosperous region. We have a way to go still. The latest figures are a reminder of the work that we still need to do.”