Cape Town - At least 236 people have been fatally shot in the Western Cape so far this year. This means an average of three people are murdered with a firearm each day in the Western Cape.
These figures are based on the number of bodies admitted to mortuaries. An average of 18 people are shot dead a day in the country, according to Gun Free SA’s Adele Kirsten.
While police say they are concerned about shootings and murders in the province, mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said the murder statistics “are unacceptable” and that if gang violence could be obliterated, Cape Town would be “the least violent city in South Africa”.
Killings as a result of shootings have been in the spotlight due to ongoing gang violence. In one of the latest incidents a three-year-old girl was killed on Sunday after a stray bullet hit her in Bishop Lavis.
No official statistics have been released on how many people have been killed in gang shootings in the province this year, but the Cape Times – using police and emergency services press releases, as well as going to scenes – has calculated that at least 31 people have been killed in suspected gang incidents.
This accounts for a seventh of all gunshot killings in the province this year and about a quarter in the city area. Lorna Martin, the head of UCT’s Clinical Laboratory Services’ forensic medicine division, said the number of bodies, as a result of “alleged” gunshot wounds, admitted to mortuaries around the province from the start of the year until 6am on Tuesday stood at 236.
The murders were referred to as due to “alleged” gunshot wounds because this information had not been confirmed by a pathologist.
Very few cases turned out not to be due to gunshot wounds.
On Wednesday, police spokesman André Traut said official statistics could not yet be released nor confirmed.
Operation Combat, which focused on gangsterism and related crime, was being carried out.
Smith said the city’s law enforcement agencies were also focusing on social crime prevention.
“The Metro Police Department has launched a Youth Academy where young people attend weekend camps,” he said.