Community Police Forums (CPF) across the City have joined hands with the police to find solutions amid escalating crime and gang-related deaths in communities.
The Western Cape Community Police Board in conjunction with the City District Commissioner, Vincent Beaton, called an urgent district crime indaba on Saturday at the Milnerton police boardroom.
According to provincial CPF board chairperson, Fransina Lukas, they were concerned that in one week in September, 130 people were killed and shootings were ongoing in the same communities.
The murders were identified in 11 station precincts – Gugulethu, Manenberg, Khayelitsha, Mfuleni, Mitchells Plain, Nyanga, Delft, Ravensmead, Philippi, Hout Bay and Samora Machel.
“It was important to meet and identify what was happening and how we can find joint solutions even if they are implemented in stages.
Challenges include that when an area is under siege there is an influx of resources deployed, however, they are removed after some time when shootings subside, meaning there is a need for sustainable policing.
“The shops operate like illegal shebeens, they operate until late hours, gangs fight over extortion and they are a breeding ground for wrong things because these young people also sit there and sell illegal things,” she said.
Lukas said among the solutions discussed was the filling of CPF vacancies.
Safety and security mayco member JP Smith said in a period of two hours on Saturday, 177 shots were fired in 58 shooting incidents across four ShotSpotter areas.
ShotSpotter is an acoustic gunshot detection system that alerts law enforcement authorities to gunfire incidents as soon as they happen.
Smith said on Friday, 144 shooting incidents occurred in Nyanga, Manenberg, Hanover Park and Lavender Hill.
“This is compared to 842 shooting incidents in the last 30 days.
“In unprecedented levels of gang warfare, we are seeing our communities plunged into a full on war zone.
“Our members managed to confiscate at least four firearms and performed the subsequent arrests on (Friday), but one needs to ask the serious questions. Who is supporting and financing the gangs and their battles for increased territory? Where are they obtaining an almost endless supply of firearms and ammunition?”
Police Minister Bheki Cele, joined by top management and other stakeholders, launched the national safer festive season operations in Khayelitsha on Friday.
Cele acknowledged that residents of gang infested communities lived in fear, and committed that police would heighten visibility and intensify operations to deal with all types criminality.
More than 36 state vehicles were handed out and 2 600 officers are expected to be deployed in the province.
“There are criminals who want to co-govern with the people that are elected.
“I am calling on those police officers who are given the responsibility to deal with those heartless criminals - that think they run the world and the country - don’t be kind to them. Hit and hit hard. Criminals have declared war against communities and society. I’m making a call to those police to protect the communities,” said Cele.