A crime scene in Nyanga where three people were shot dead inside a vehicle parked about 200m from police station. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - The Nyanga Community Police Forum (CPF) said policing was not the problem, but lack of assistance from other government stakeholders contributed to the area's high crime rate.

It has the highest murder rate in the country, a grim accolade it continues to hold year after year.

CPF chairperson Martin Makhasi said they had expected the area to top the murder rate again this year after failed intervention by other local government stakeholders.

“The police service tried; they got more officers deployed in the area, there is also a new police station being built in Samora Machel, but the socio-economic conditions play a greater role,” he said.

Nyanga topped the murder rate with 308 reported cases. It recorded 1 646 robberies with aggravating circumstances, 210 rape cases, 276 hijackings of vehicles and 684 burglaries of residential premises.

“The gap is in other government stakeholders. The provincial government has been failing us when it comes to CCTV cameras. The terminus area is a hotspot for hijackings, but what we find is that cameras installed there don't work.

“There is no upliftment or hope in this area as crimes will always be prevalent if we are treated this way,” Makhasi said.

Institute for Security Studies (ISS) justice and violence prevention head Gareth Newham said police needed to tackle the high murder rate by focussing on the worst affected areas.

“Murder is a localised phenomenon which police would be able to tackle by focusing on the worst affected areas.

“This (the crime stats) should make it possible for police to reduce the killings by targeting resources in murder hotspots,” he said.

Newham said more research was needed to ascertain why there was a slight reported decrease in other violent crimes such as assault, down 1,9%, and armed robbery, down 1,8%, as they often led to murder.

Another ISS expert, Andrew Faull, said police membership was irrelevant.

“Target areas where violence is severe. There needs to be much better deployment of police at stations. Police should be deployed in stations were violence is predicted,” he said.

Faull opposed the call to have the army deployed in the Cape Flats. “Deploying the army is a slippery slope shutting down communities. It would be even more difficult to withdraw them,” he said.

Community Safety MEC Dan Plato said: “The people of the Western Cape, especially the communities hardest hit by violent crimes such as murder and attempted murder, cannot be appeased by yet another police minister acknowledging that they are dropping the ball on crime.

“It is time for the necessary action to change the lives of those confronted with crime on a daily basis. Police resources need to be pumped into the Western Cape by national government,” Plato said.

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Cape Argus