Call for action

2018-03-13 06:00

Kommetjie residents have spoken out against ongoing violent crime in neighbouring Ocean View, urging authorities to step in with a detailed plan of action­.

In a letter sent to the provincial Department of Community Safety (Docs), police and the City of Cape Town, the Kommetjie Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (KRRA) says “murders and shootings in Ocean View have shocked the people in Kommetjie” and call for “efforts to bring lawfulness and peace for [their] neighbours”.

The association has requested police, Docs and the City, along with the community, to devise “a detailed plan of action which can be monitored against milestones and which will be published so our communities can be assured that you are taking concerted action”.

Ewald Botha, spokesperson for Docs MEC Dan Plato, has confirmed receipt of the letter and says it has been escalated to police and City officials.

“Despite the Department of Community Safety only having an oversight mandate over policing service delivery in the province, we have a basket of services available to communities to help increase safety on an ongoing basis through targeted interventions and strategic partnerships around a whole-of-society approach to society – everyone has a responsibility to increase safety,” he says.

These include the Walking Bus initiative, the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign, youth outreaches and meetings with community leaders, groups or individuals as the need arises.

Plato’s most recent engagement in Ocean View was last month, Botha says, and he has been on official visits and engagements eight times since the start of last year, excluding the impromptu visits or engagements.

“One of our annual engagements, the Policing Needs and Priorities determination process, will be starting in the next couple of months, which aims to bring all safety stakeholders together and devise an implementable safety plan for the community, precinct and cluster for all stations across the province.

“However, as per the need expressed by the community through the KRRA, Minister Plato is looking into an earlier opportunity for role players to be able to provide feedback to the community regarding their complaints.”

The association has also called on the City to install more CCTV cameras in the precinct as a “proven deterrent to crime”.

Mayco member (South) Eddie Andrews says CCTV cameras provide footage of crimes that is then sent to the police’s investigating officers as evidence.

“In the last financial year, an average of 29 cases per month were opened as a result of arrests due to CCTV surveillance footage­.

“CCTV cameras act as an effective tool in traffic management and offence monitoring, bylaw monitoring, crime prevention and evidence gathering, fire detection and prevention, medical assistance, and event and incident monitoring.”

He adds that the City monitors 577 CCTV cameras, but “the CCTV network does not cover all areas”.

Cameras are implemented according to the CCTV roll-out plan.

“Through the ward allocation budget, the Metro Police Department assists in rolling out licence plate recognition cameras to various areas where the ward councillor has allocated funds for this technology to be installed.”

In addition, the association insists the Ocean View policing precinct is underresourced in comparison with neighbouring police precincts.

The association says there are 218 officers per 100 000 population, with 262 murders over four years. The figures in Muizenberg, according to the association, are 256 officers and 161 murders, in Fish Hoek 380 officers and 25 murders, and in Simon’s Town 383 officers and 15 murders.

“These figures do not take into account the latest deaths. This inequality cannot continue.

“The police need to examine their resourcing and increase officer power and other resources to Ocean View,” the association states.

Plato explains that complaints about underresourcing of police stations and manpower constraints are “unfortunately not unique to Ocean View and even more unfortunately, not new in the Western Cape”.

“I receive complaints almost every day from communities that policing service delivery is being hamstrung by stations being short-staffed and underresourced.

“Resource constraints directly impact the police’s ability to respond and in worst case scenarios this could be the difference between life and death, as for those caught between gang fighting and gunfire.

“The Provincial Parliament Standing Committee report on underresourcing in the province last year highlighted the extent of the problem with up to 85% of police stations being underresourced in the past and former police commissioner, Arno Lamoer, admitting that the province is understaffed by 3000 police officers.

“I continuously raise the issue of well-resourced and trained police officers able to serve our communities with the provincial commissioner and will continue, through our oversight mandate, to work to see the necessary changes are made to ensure that everyone in the province receives the policing service delivery they deserve.”

Local police had not commented at the time of going to print.


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