21 of the 30 top police stations for counts of drug-related crimes were in the Western Cape, revealed the annual national crime statistics. Picture: DARRYL DYCK/AP.
Cape Town - One of the stand-out figures from the annual national crime statistics, released by the SAPS last week, was that 21 of the 30 top police stations for counts of drug-related crimes were in the Western Cape.

Mitchells Plain, Kraaifontein, Delft and Atlantis police stations were the top four of the top 30 stations. Bellville, Strand, Parow and Manenberg took positions 26 to 29.

The 2018/19 stats showed figures were trending downwards since 2017/2018. While in 2017/18, 36.2% of all drug-related crimes in South Africa occurred in the province, this year the province recorded 34.96% of all drug-related crimes in the country.

Anine Kriegler, of the UCT Centre for Criminology, noted that recorded drug-related crime figures fell by 28% year-on-year. She said that figure represents probably about 100000 people who didn't get arrested, for what she is almost certain was cannabis possession.

Asked how she came to this figure, Kriegler said: “There were more than 90000 fewer incidents of drug-related crime recorded by the SAPS in 2018/19 compared with 2017/18. Previous years saw increases of 10% or more each year. That is how I arrived at the figure of 100000.

“Given that the only policy change has been that which applies to cannabis possession, I think it is a safe assumption that that is what explains the sudden decline.”

Writing in the UCT news last month, Don Pinnock, a research fellow and criminologist at the Centre for Criminology, UCT, said most Cape gangs made the bulk of their money from procuring and selling drugs such as tik (crystal methamphetamine), heroin, nyaope (a street drug that mixes several drugs) and dagga (marijuana).

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