Grander vision needed to stop crime in its tracks in EC

Grander vision needed to stop crime in its tracks in EC

The People of the Eastern Cape live in constant fear because of the ongoing onslaught of violent crime in the province. They continue to live in fear behind locked doors while criminals roam the streets with impunity.

The third quarter crime stats for 2023/24 financial year, dealing with the period between October and December 2023, shows that the South African Police Service (SAPS) is losing the battle.

While murder is down slightly, from 1,501 to 1,460, the province has the highest number of multiple murder cases, with 85 cases where two or more people were murdered, claiming a total of 185 victims, over the three-month period. The province still has the highest murder ratio at 22 per 100,000 of the population and had seven stations in the top 30 stations nationally for murder, namely Mthatha, New Brighton, Motherwell, Willowvale, KwaZakhele, Libode and Lusikisiki.

There were 2,518 sexual offence cases opened in the three months under review, with Mthatha having the third-highest number of cases reported in the country.

While burglaries of residential premises have come down slightly, there were still 4,253 cases reported, but worryingly, robbery at residential premises have escalated by 3,4%, with 571 cases reported, meaning criminals are becoming more brazen and are entering our homes, armed, while we are present.

Robbery at non-residential premises has jumped the most, from 461 cases to 626 cases, a staggering 35,8% increase.

The reality is we cannot keep doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. We need a grander vision that is solutions-orientated if we are to bring crime under control.

First and foremost, we need to get the basics right. We need more boots on the ground, which includes more visible policing, but it is vital that the people we employ in these positions are fit for service. We need to root out the bad apples.

We also need to ensure that we are embracing technologies that will improve crime prevention, such as the deployment of drones that could be used to patrol rural areas and combat rampant stock theft. We should also be rolling out technologies such as Shotspotter and CCTV in crime hotspots to increase response times as well as conviction rates.

We need to capacitate detective and crime intelligence services to improve both preventative actions and ensure better conviction rates to keep criminals off the street and prevent repeat offenders.

The DA realises that SAPS cannot solve the crime problem on its own. We need effective partnerships with business, security companies, municipalities and the communities themselves.

Provincial Government must also come to the party, as the DA-led Western Cape government has done, by providing over 1,100 law enforcement officers to supplement saps in high crime areas. Only by working together will we be able to rescue the Eastern Cape from this scourge of violent crime.