Experts believe the high level of murder rates will continue in Kraaifontein
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Cape Town - Experts believe that the high trend of murder rates in Kraaifontein is likely to continue.
Kraaifontein has, between January and June 2020 and during the same period in 2021, seen an increase of almost 100% in the rate of murders reported in the area. There were 114 murders reported during January and June this year. Between October and December 2020, 84 murders were reported.
Criminologist at Stellenbosch University's political science department, Guy Lamb, said the high levels of crime in the area will continue.
“There was a significant increase in the levels of violent crime between April and June this year compared to the same period in 2019 (pre-Covid-19). We are likely to see a continuation of high levels of violent crime in this area as firearms are widely available and gangsters and criminals are unlikely to adopt non-violent methods in the foreseeable future.
“This violence has been largely driven by gang conflicts and the availability of illegal firearms and ammunition. Alcohol and drug abuse has also contributed to cases of violent crime,” he said.
Researcher and policy analyst, Ziyanda Stuurman, agreed with Lamb.
“It is likely that if murder rates increased between January and June that it would have increased in the last three months as well. Across various communities similar to Kraaifontein like Gugulethu, Nyanga and others, there has been a marked increase in the presence and activities of organised gangs and criminal networks since the start of the pandemic last year,” she said.
“Communities like Kraaifontein, Nyanga and others where murder rates are (high), especially having the compounding problems of both, less police resources than they need and and higher crime levels than other parts of the city and other communities. In essence, there is a mismatch between how many police officers, patrol vehicles, detectives and other resources are available in Kraaifontein, versus the social and economic issues of drug abuse, high unemployment levels and inequality that all fuel and drive violent crime,” she said.
MEC for community safety, Albert Fritz, said SAPS in the province are under-resourced.
“We are engaging with the national government so that the Western Cape, and specifically areas like Kraaifontein, can receive an adequate amount of policing resources. To make the point, in the country, the police to population ratio is 1:400, i.e. one police officer for every four hundred citizens. In the Western Cape, on average, the ratio is 1:507. In Kraaifontein, the ratio is 1:624. From that indicator it should be clear that policing resources is a problem, and we are fighting for adequate resources for our communities.”
“The amount of crime and violence in our communities is unacceptable. No responsible government can turn a blind eye to it and carry on as normal, and that is why the Western Cape government has put a lot of effort and resources into fighting crime and violence and reducing the murder rate by half by 2029 through our provincial safety plan. Our safety plan rests on two legs, law enforcement and violence prevention,” he added.
Kraaifontein Community Police Forum (CPF) chairperson, Robert Bisset, said: “Gangs and drugs won't stop, they just change areas, when the heat gets too hot. Drugs are entering (the) Western Cape a lot easier than in the past. The reason gangs fight for areas (is) to control and distribute. We will have extended work with the community to develop the area better. Talk with the council for better lighting, roads, cameras and the list continues. Kraaifontein SAPS and CPF thank the community members coming forward and welcome any leads that we are given to illegal guns or drugs.”