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Cape Town - Western Cape police are to step up crime intelligence operations in Nyanga, Cape Town, provincial police commissioner Arno Lamoer said on Friday.
Lamoer denied a lack of police visibility led to the area again recording the highest number of murders in the country.
The national crime statistics, released on Thursday, showed 262
people were murdered in the area in 2012/13. He said more plain clothes officers would be employed to crack down on criminals.
“I deploy detectives there in private clothes. I deploy crime intelligence officers there in private clothes,” he said.
Visibility alone would not solve the high crime rate in Nyanga.
“We want to make sure that you must be scared to commit a crime because you don't know 1/8whether 3/8 the person walking next to you can be a police officer,” Lamoer said.
Another strategy Lamoer said needed to be implemented was cracking down on the blatant violation of by-laws in Nyanga and surrounds.
“You look at the health and building regulations that are not adhered to. You drive around in Nyanga and you see how many cars are unroadworthy. If you start dealing with the smaller crimes, you start making an impact on the bigger crimes.”
Lamoer wants to strengthen investigative capacity at the station and possibly make some staff changes.
The latest statistics, for the financial year from April 2012 to March 2013, painted a bleak picture for not only Nyanga, but other areas in the Western Cape.
Four other parts of Cape Town were in the top 10 areas with highest murder rates in the country. Khayelitsha had 168 murders, Harare 132, Gugulethu 129, and Delft 113.
Overall, murder increased by 12 percent in the province, while attempted murder shot up by 42 percent.
There were also steep increases in the so-called trio crimes. House robberies in the province went up by 23 percent, business robberies by 23 percent, and carjacking by 46 percent.
Drug-related crime rose by 6.5 percent.
The only category of crime to see a downward trend was sexual offences, down 6.5 percent.
Lamoer said he was concerned about crimes against women and children.
“The four-month-old baby that was raped in Ceres. Those are things we see on a daily basis happening in this province.
“Two weeks ago we had an eight-month-old baby that was raped and those are things that really keep me awake at night to try and figure out what can we do to turn that around,” Lamoer said.
Police had to improve on curbing spaza shop robberies, policing in gang areas, and strengthening partnerships with communities. They were starting to do well with a high rate of illegal firearm recoveries, good work on policing and investigating sexual offences, and police control over strikes and violent protests.
Protests were however putting strain on police resources.
“One of the core reasons our resources have been stretched is protest action,” Lamoer said.
He said the problems protesters had were not with police, yet officers bore the brunt of their frustrations.
Lamoer urged other government departments to step in quicker when problems with delivery arose.
“The time we spent on these things (protests) is amazing. Take the De Doorns (farmworkers' strike) for instance. The number of police officers I deployed there from the metropole to go to deal with those issues, that's a serious concern.”