The City said nearly half of the arrests made by Cape Town Traffic Services in the last week were linked to illegal street racing operations. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)
The City said nearly half of the arrests made by Cape Town Traffic Services in the last week were linked to illegal street racing operations. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

JP Smith says persistence of illegal firearms in Cape Town is 'hugely problematic'

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Mar 8, 2021

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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town said nearly half of the arrests made by Traffic Services in the past week were linked to illegal street racing operations – with drunk driving and reckless and negligent driving also featured prominently.

The City of Cape Town’s three enforcement agencies made 198 arrests between them in the past week.

Cape Town Traffic Services were responsible for 79 of these arrests.

A deeper dive into the statistics show:

  • 46% of all arrests were made during operations focusing on illegal street racing.
  • Nearly three-quarters of the total arrests were for drunk driving and reckless and negligent driving.
  • An increase of nearly 2 500 fines in the past week (77 262), compared to the previous week (74 829).
  • A week-on-week increase in cellphone confiscations (126 in the past week compared to 76 the week before).

Mayco Member for Safety and Security JP Smith said: “The statistics show sustained effort by our traffic officers to keep motorists in check and keep road users safe.

“However, they are also a grim reminder that people continue to behave badly or make poor judgment calls while behind the wheel.

“Our staff are to be commended for their ongoing efforts to address the many challenges that exist on our roads, but until we see a major behaviour shift and more accountability from our road users, I fear the situation will remain the same.”

The City’s Law Enforcement Department made 77 arrests and issued 4 270 fines. Officers deployed in terms of the Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP) made 61 of the arrests for the week.

The City’s School Resource Officers (SROs) also responded to eight complaints of fighting and robbery at schools.

The SROs have a dedicated presence at more than 30 schools identified in conjunction with the Western Cape Education Department.

Meanwhile, the Metro Police Department made 42 arrests – nearly half of which were for possession of drugs. Officers also issued 3 576 fines.

On Saturday, 6 March, officers were tipped off about an armed gang member in Hanover Park.

As they approached the suspect, he ran away and was cornered in a house in the area. Officers found him in possession of a revolver, as well as a matchbox with ammunition.

“When staff arrived at Philippi police station with the suspect, they discovered that the firearm they found in his possession is listed as having been destroyed. This is hugely problematic,” Smith said.

“Cape Town has a massive problem with illegal firearms and violent crime involving firearms, so it is disheartening that firearms that are meant to be taken out of circulation are still on our streets.

“More concerning is that SAPS closed its latest firearm amnesty period last month, with citizens believing they are helping us by handing in these firearms for destruction.

“I sincerely hope that a thorough investigation will follow around the circumstances of this particular case,” added Smith.

Cape Argus

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