2 September 2016
Today the National Police Commissioner released the crime statistics for the year 2015/16 and the Western Cape numbers remain stubbornly high, but with some improvements.
The Western Cape continues to have a very high murder rate. The murder rate has constantly been on the rise since 2011/12 where there were 2293 murders in the Western Cape, 3186 in 2014/15 and the numbers released today indicate an increase of 1,2%, with a total of 3224 murders. Although the Western Cape fared better than almost all provinces and this murder rate increase is the second lowest in the country, this is hardly any consolation.
The South African Police Services must be commended for areas of improvement where we have seen decreases in crimes such as assault GBH and sexual offences. Although 25 539 cases of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm (Assault GBH) in the Western Cape is a disturbingly high number, we welcome the decrease of 2.5% which is the biggest decrease in the country. We also welcome a significant decrease in the number of common robberies from 13 420 to 12 485 – a reduction of 7% in the Western Cape.We reiterate the call for more police resources to be made available to the Western Cape in order to deal with violent crime such as murder and other contact crimes. Police to person ratios in areas like Nyanga and Delft are among the reasons for the high number of contact and violent crimes.
We also note that crime statistics will now be released every quarter instead of annually. The Western Cape Government has been advocating for this approach for years and has even legislated it in the Western Cape Community Safety Act. We strongly support the move as it will allow SAPS, government departments and community safety structures to respond to crime trends more rapidly and contribute to creating safer communities.