Kraaifontein still a murder hot spot

The Kraaifontein police are struggling to curb crime and a second police station should be built, the CPF says.

Kraaifontein has once again emerged as one of the top-six murder hot spots in the country with the third highest number of attempted murders, according to the latest SAPS crime statistics.

The precinct ranks 22nd out of the country’s top-30 for serious crimes recorded from July to September. The stats were released by Police Minister Bheki Cele on Friday November 19.

MEC for Community Safety Albert Fritz views the marginal decrease across the province, from 1 013 murders from the second quarter in 2020/21 to 1 011 over the same period this financial year, as “stabilisation”.

Kraaifontein CPF chair Rob Bissett concedes the precinct is struggling with crime.

“Kraaifontein SAPS has not grown with the same rate that the policing precinct has developed and increased in population,” he said.

“This is why the CPF has been advocating for more than 10 years that another police station should be built.”

The precinct was about the same size as Nyanga, Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain and yet Kraaifontein only had one police station compared to Nyanga’s three, Mitchell’s Plain’s three and Khayelitsha’s four.

Stellenbosch University criminologist Dr Guy Lamb suggests that the driving force behind the high rankings is escalating gang conflict.

He posits that Kraaifontein police’s strategy clearly isn’t working and that they should attempt mediating between rivals in gang strongholds.

This as the precinct logged 64 murder cases between July and September of 2021/22. This is a drastic jump from the 29 recorded from July to September of 2020/21.

Kraaifontein police logged 56 attempted murder cases from July to September 2021/22, down from 59 in July to September 2020/21, but up from 27 in the second quarter of 2019/20.

The precinct ranked 16th out of 30 contact crimes hot spots across the country, with 660 cases.

SAPS categorises contact crimes as rapes, murders, attempted murders and aggravated robberies.

The precinct registered 42 residential robberies from July to September in 2021/22, ranking it 14th in this category. In the same period for 2020/21, the precinct recorded 41 residential robberies.

The precinct ranks 16th out of 30 hot spots for robberies at non-residential premises, with 27 incidents recorded in the third quarter this financial year. The police station reported 23 of these incidents in the third quarter of 2020/21.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said his office was examining the crime stats and the Law Enforcement Advancement Programme (Leap), deployed in 10 precincts, including Kraaifontein, was already making an impact. He added that with more time, Leap officers would be even more effective.

Mr Fritz said the numbers were encouraging but they should not make law enforcement complacent.

Dr Lamb said: “Kraaifontein remains a murder station. The conflict between Kraaifontein gangs has been a problem. It’s about gangs and it’s about guns.”

Dr Lamb said the mediation strategy had been successfully used in America as well as by City Law Enforcement in Hanover Park.

“That would be a good option to try in Kraaifontein. I think you’re quite limited if you can’t deal with gang conflict,” he said.

The Kraaifontein police station had not responded to queries at the time of writing.