Police Minister Bheki Cele has released the crime statistics for the 2017/18 financial year. He revealed that 20 336 murders were recorded nationally, which means that 57 people are killed in SA each day. File picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - A short-term solution to help alleviate crime in communities would be for residents to elect station commanders and hold them accountable, said Dr Frans Cronje of the Centre for Risk Analysis.

The latest crime statistics put 10 police stations in the Western Cape in the top 30 for murder in the country, with Nyanga taking the top spot as the murder capital of South Africa.

A total of 20366 murders were reported nationally in the 2017/2018 financial year, with murder in the Western Cape increasing by 12.6% from 3311 to 3729 between the 2016/2017 and the 2017/2018 financial years.

In Nyanga, a 9.6% increase was reported in murder from 281 in 2016/2017 to 308 in 2017/2018.

Based on the previous year’s crime stats, Cronje said 34 people per 100000 were killed. However, the murder rate dropped significantly in comparison with the 94/95 financial year, which reported 67 people killed per 100000.

He said the current figures were still high if compared with countries like Australia and the US, which have murder rates of 1.1 people per 100000 and 3.8 per 100000 respectively.

“Part of the problem is that the police are not accountable to the communities they serve,” he said.

Cronje said the idea of voting for a station commander allowed the community to recall the person if they were not reducing crime.

He said they approached various political figures and groups on the matter and hopefully it was something that could happen in the future.

He said the socio-economic challenges were going to get tougher and the police resources would decrease.

The enclave phenomenon would continue to grow in affluent and middle-class areas, where they took control of their security, he said.

Dr Simon Howell of the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum said the country was at war with itself.

He said national crime and that of the Western Cape would continue to increase unless people had better living conditions and jobs.

He said an integrated approach to crime from the government and the various social ills needed to be established.

Dr Johan Burger of the Institute for Security Studies said the high murder rate in the Nyanga police precinct has been the case for a number of years.

He agreed with Howell that an integrated governmental approach needed to be implemented.

However, he said for programmes to be initiated in the various hot spot areas, the police needed to ensure the area was safe.

“High visible policing is crucial. High density policing provides stability and reassurance that their concerns are being attended.

“It will also provide space for other government institutions to focus on the other issues in the community,” Burger said.

He said people were afraid to go into hot spot communities to do projects - even the police were sometimes afraid.

“There is an urgent need for a dedicated policing approach and integrated approach to deal with the underlying issues.”

Community Policing Forum provincial spokesperson Lucinda Evans blamed the unequal distribution of resources for the high murder rate.

The situation, she said, cannot continue as “we are not going to have a future”.

“Similarly, the impact of our colonial and apartheid past still haunts communities.

“All these communities are predominately black, begging us to view the endemic violence through the lens of a decolonisation project.

“This happens particularly within the context of access to land, decent housing, job creation and the employability (of residents) and safe schooling,” Evans said.

Weekend Argus