Crime statistics show that 20% of murders in South Africa occur in fewer than 3% of police precincts, of which two were in Khayelitsha. Picture: Timothy Barnard/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Cape Town - The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) and the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) have launched a crime map reviewing, among other things, the potential and problems of point-level murder and robbery data for Khayelitsha’s three police stations.

Senior researcher of justice and violence prevention at the ISS, Dr Andrew Faull, said the latest crime statistics showed that 20% of murders in South Africa occurred in fewer than 3% of police precincts, of which two were in Khayelitsha.

Faull said within such precincts, violence clustered in small, micro-locations.

“This presents important opportunities for targeted policing.

“Advances in evidence-based policing show that targeted interventions can effectively address crime and violence. But this requires access to recent, accurate crime data,” Faull said.

A research specialist at the Human Sciences Research Council, Dr Ian Edelstein, said from 2006, crime across Khayelitsha had been dispersed over place and time.

“It is, however, concentrated near intersections, shopping centres, medical facilities, train stations and police stations. This may be the result of police geolocating crimes at landmarks, rather than at their actual locations (when such geolocations are not provided),” Edelstein said.

A new report on crime mapping, pointing level murder and robbery data for Khayelitsha’s three stations. Picture: Supplied

He said the police should publish details of how incident-level crime data was collected, described and geocoded (including devices and methods used), “clearly indicating the limitations of each record”.

He said the data should be shared, timeously and responsibly, with the National Safety, Crime and Violence Prevention Centre, as well as external researchers.

“This would allow for much deeper crime data analysis than current practice allows, and would help improve analysis and response,” Edelstein said.

SJC project manager Musa Gwebani said the police should make geo-tagged data public.

“That would allow for site-specific interventions to be undertaken by other state organs, levels of government and civil society actors,” he said.

Gwebani said it would also allow communities to avoid crime hot spots and to develop interventions.

“If the police believe that environmental design contributes to and hinders their ability to respond to crime, then making geo-tagged data available would only bolster their pleas for municipal governments to intervene,” Gwebani said.

A new report on crime mapping, pointing level murder and robbery data for Khayelitsha’s three stations. Picture: Supplied

Mmakosha Mahlangu, the section head of crime statistics and research for the national police, said they tried to get accurate data and to pinpoint exactly where crimes were happening, “but it is difficult, because we can’t really find the exact point”.

Western Cape Police Ombudsman Johan Brand said his biggest concern was the maps utilised by the police when compiling their statistics.

“We should look at the live maps and have proper crime mapping, so that we can understand where crime is happening,” Brand said.

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Cape Argus