Over the course of the lockdown period, the Western Cape has seen a “staggering” decline in crime and in particular alleged murder admissions or suspected murders. Picture:Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)
Over the course of the lockdown period, the Western Cape has seen a “staggering” decline in crime and in particular alleged murder admissions or suspected murders. Picture:Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)

Western Cape sees 'staggering' decline in crime since lockdown

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Apr 7, 2020

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Cape Town - Over the course of the lockdown period, the Western Cape has seen a “staggering” decline in crime and in particular alleged murder admissions or suspected murders.

Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said the province had recorded 31 suspected murders within the 14th week of 2020, and the figure was “considerably lower” than the same period last year in which there were 105 suspected murders. In total, that marked a 70.5% decrease in suspected murders.

Fritz commended the 500 newly deployed law enforcement officers who are supporting the joint command of the police and SANDF.

“These officers have been deployed in the Khayelitsha, Lentegeur, Nyanga (including Bishop Lavis), Milnerton, Bellville, Wynberg, Delft and Cape Town clusters. Additionally, they are supporting the Covid-19 response team and the Strandfontein SafeSpace established to protect homeless individuals during the outbreak,” he said.

The Law Enforcement Advancement Plan by officers is supporting the lockdown by working in 12-hour shifts at the Strandfontein SafeSpace to ensure the homeless are kept safe, and operating in conjunction with the police and the Anti-Gang Unit to perform Covid-19-related operations and crime prevention operations.

The officers are deployed within the eight clusters attending to Covid-19 complaints dispatched by the 107 Control Centre and assisting with a response team attached to the Covid-19 response team, particularly in response to gatherings, events and taverns operating.

“I’ve requested that the Western Cape Liquor Authority ensure that any outlet which contravenes the lockdown conditions be liable for a maximum fine of R100000 and have their licence revoked immediately, subject to investigation,” he said.

Fritz also requested that the WC join the ProvJoints committee and be included in every case were liquor was sold or an arrest was made, to better track the original point of sale.

“I further welcome the resolution taken by ProvJoints on March 25 that no alcohol will be returned to any outlet after paying admission of guilt,” he said.

Safety and Security mayco member JP Smith said: “While we’ve seen a decline in crime, there’s no shortage of work for our law enforcement officers, who have shown time and time again their dedication to creating a safer city for all.”

Smith said he was proud of the work their officers were doing to assist in the response to Covid-19 through their peace officer powers and other training.

Provincial Traffic chief Kenny Africa said there had been 2395 people arrested for contravention of regulations across the province since the start of the lockdown.

“Of those, 1092 people were arrested in the metro, 188 in the Overberg, the West Coast had 245 arrests, Winelands had 361, Central Karoo had 79 and Eden had 430,” Africa said.

“Residents are asked to report any complaints of policing inefficiency to the Western Cape Police Ombudsman. Additionally, cases of police and military brutality should be reported to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate or to the Military Ombudsman respectively,” Fritz said.

This comes a day after the Police Minister Bheki Cele issued a preliminary report on murder, rape and assault statistics, where he said cases had dropped during lockdown.

@SISONKE_MD

[email protected]

Cape Argus

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