File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town – A department not fingered first when it comes to the reason for high crime statistics has been blamed for being among the chief reasons why sexual offence cases and murders have increased in Delft.

Commenting on Delft being one of three Cape Town police stations in the top 10 for sexual offence cases, with the second-highest murder rate in the country, Community Policing Forum chairperson Pastor Charles George said on Thursday: "We need to sit down again with the department of human settlements, which is creating this environment for murders and crime taking place.

"You cannot just come into Delft and build thousands of houses with no economic activities attached for the community. You are asking the community to get involved in criminal activities.

"We need to address the root cause of these problems. Things are very tense at the moment. Unemployment is up, these are factors influencing the murder rate. 

"The environment is key and we need to produce an environment where people will really start to respect each other.

"The government mustn't add to the problems and trauma. They must come up with an environment where people can deal with these things in a humane way.

"We are going to have to do a lot of work within our community via a lot of different community structures.

"And we need to start bringing back morals and ethics, and programmes in our schools as well. We need to have interventions and bring all stakeholders around the table and come up with joint solutions and proposals.

"There are a lot of crimes that are not being reported, such as the robbery component, where people get robbed on the way to work and travelling on public transport. 

"More than 300 people a day get robbed at places like taxi ranks and they aren't going to the police station to report it because you only have one police station in Delft, where the population is exploding, so people are not wanting to report it."

Aside from a lack of CCTV cameras making the criminals' job easier, George said, "most of these murders are committed by people who are either out on parole or were given bail". 

"The criminal justice system granting perpetrators bail and parole is failing the communities. 

"What's the use we highlight the problem, leading to a perpetrator being caught, but the justice system fails the community and the next day he comes out.

"The whole system doesn't make sense. You find a guy that gets caught for stealing a bicycle landing up in jail with a guy caught for murdering someone. 

"Inside the prison, the guy who murdered someone schools the guy who stole the bicycle. A guy goes in a petty thief and comes out a professional criminal."

The rehabilitation of convicts, housed in overcrowded jails, is another major concern for George.

"How do we rehabilitate these offenders and how do we integrate them back into the community? What assurance does the community also have that when they come back, they will add solutions and assist the community in upliftment."

Cape Times