Cape Ton - With 55 people killed and 59 cases of attempted murder reported in the province in the space of a week, anti-crime activists said the approach to policing needed to change to make communities safer.
The murders and attempted murders were reported between January 29 and February 2.
Nyanga was among the top five worst affected precincts, with five murders in five days. Those murders were believed the taxi-related. From January 22 to 27, 39 people were killed in the province, eight in Nyanga.
Nyanga Community Policing Forum secretary, Dumisani Qwebe, said police made efforts to be visible.
“The police are trying their best but most of these cases happen within the blink of an eye. Criminals wait until the police go to another area to start shooting.
“Crime intelligence should include community members. The police need to know what is going to happen and when, so they can intercept that before it goes down.
“The taxi-related incidents are difficult because no one ever knows when something is going to happen, but the sad thing is that there are innocent people who are shot at.”
Firdous Kleinsmidt, 12, was killed in Mitchells Plain last Tuesday when a stray bullet struck her in the eye.
The Cape Flats Safety Forum’s Lynn Phillips said police needed to switch things up.
“We have requested a search and seizure operation for illegal guns by doing lockdown per block and targeting where gang warfare and gun violence is prevalent.
“Police also need to build relationships with communities to get the intelligence they need. The challenge with police is they feel they are trained as police officers and communities don’t know about crime and criminality. But intelligence comes from ordinary community members.”
She suggested that all station commanders look at having specialised units on a smaller scale at station level.
Bernard Pieters of the Cape Forum said: “I believe we all agree that 55 murders in such a short period shows how far we have fallen. It is disheartening and demoralising for both the community and those who wish to one day join SAPS.
“A civil society oversight role needs to be established at provincial level. Who is currently watching the watchers? Politicians? This will in our opinion be achieved through the devolution of policing powers to provincial level.”