Cops silent on murders

2017-06-06 06:01

With an estimated 65 people killed in drug and gang-related violence in Ocean View since the start of last year, residents’ frustration with policing is at an all-time high.

Figures supplied by the community claim 55 people were killed last year, with another 10 murders since the start of this year.

Members of the Ocean View Community Policing Forum (CPF) wrote to provincial police commissioner Khombinkosi Jula, requesting an urgent meeting. The meeting was to address concerns listed in a letter, which included the number of murders in the area.

The letter states that crime in Ocean View has escalated over the last 18 months due to gang activity. The CPF raised its concerns over the high turnover of station commanders, crimes committed by children and allegations of corrupt officers. The CPF also raised concerns over the number of murders in the area, saying although the official statistics have not been released, the community has been keeping count.

The letter was sent in April, but CPF members are still waiting to meet with a representative of his office.

CPF chairperson Kathy Cronje says although areas such as Manenberg, Lavender Hill and Vrygrond have more murders, the Ocean View community is smaller and would thus have a much higher death rate per capita.

During the 2015/2016 year, the murder rate in the area reached a 10-year high with 41 murders reported (“Murder rate shoots up”, People’s Post, 13 September 2016). The increase in murders was attributed to an increase in gang violence.

“Our people have had enough. The CPF has been begging for more resources to no effect. How many people will have to die before something is done?” she says.

Lieutenant-Colonel Errol Merkeur, Ocean View Police Station commander, declined to comment on the CPF’s request for a meeting and its complaints raised with Jula.

He did, however, confirm that the station has “become part of the Western Cape gang strategy on provincial level to combat the gang violence” and has requested help from other units such as public order policing and the tactical response team to increase visibility in crime hotspots.

Provincial police had not responded at the time of going to print.

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