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Knives are the weapon of choice in murders in the Western Cape and most killings occur on a Sunday and stem from arguments. But most attempted killings occur on a Saturday and firearms are mostly used.

The circumstances in which murders and attempted murders occurred in the Western Cape between April 1, 2012 and March 31, are outlined in the provincial police’s annual report.

In those 12 months, 2 580 people were killed – or seven a day on average.

The Nyanga police station recorded the highest number of murders, followed by Khayelitsha, Harare, Gugulethu and Kraaifontein.

The report said that from the circumstances in which most of the killings occurred, it was “clear they were assaults gone wrong and the intention to murder may not have been present at all”.

“Many of these crimes are as a result of arguments progressing to physical assault by the perpetrator or both the perpetrator and the victim.

“What the crime of murder does indicate is the level of intolerance, misguided sense of power and that persons have no means in their repertoire with which to resolve other than violence, especially when intoxicated.”

The report said 23.7 percent of the murders stemmed from arguments, 12 percent were incidents of gang violence, 11.6 percent occurred in robberies, 4.6 percent were by vigilantes, and 1.6 percent due to love triangles.

Fridays ranked third for the highest number of killings.

“The knife was the weapon of choice.” Knives and other sharp instruments were used in 1 069 murders.

Firearms were the second most commonly used murder weapons. In about an eighth of murders, other instruments, including cars, were used.

“The instruments are unknown in 404 incidents… partly due to the instruments not being recovered. Many… are natural, such as rocks and sticks.” Many of these did not have blood on them, contributing “to non-recovery”.

Hospital staff had been the first to report many of the murders. “Victims are taken to hospital… in many instances by the perpetrator after a fight.” Many died from a single knife wound.

There had been 3 280 attempted murders in the year, nearly 1 000 more than in the year before. The report attributed this to “increasing gang turf wars across the Cape Flats, ever-increasing incidents in rural areas and robberies”.

The police stations at which the most attempted murders were reported were Mitchells Plain, Nyanga, Khayelitsha, Bishop Lavis and Elsies River.

Most attempted murders occurred on Saturdays, Sundays and Fridays.

Gang activity accounted for most attempted murders, followed by robberies.

A firearm had been used in most of the incidents.

“This may indicate most were premeditated (and) being gang-related pointed to planning and intention.”

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Cape Times