Crime busters restore tranquillity in the Cape's gang hotspot

Law enforcement patrollers put extra boots on the ground in the fight gun violence in Cape Town's Cape Flats, and it's already showing dividends.
Law enforcement patrollers put extra boots on the ground in the fight gun violence in Cape Town's Cape Flats, and it's already showing dividends.
Image: David Harrison

Hanover Park in the Cape Flats is well-known for its gun violence with gang-related shootings happening almost daily.

But the Cape Town suburb has had zero shootings in the past week — thanks to the recent deployment of law enforcement officers from the city’s law enforcement advancement program (Leap).

Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said the patrolling of the streets by 60 officers a week ago has already led to arrests, including members of gangs that impersonate police officers.

The deployment of officers in some of the city’s crime hotspots such as Hanover Park, Nyanga, Khayelitsha, Bishop Lavis and Delft is in line with the Western Cape Safety Plan, which is meant to half the murder rate in the province’s top 10 crime hotspots. Ten areas account for nearly 50% of all the province’s murders

Fritz said one of the success stories of the operation was at the weekend after law enforcement officers received a tip off while patrolling in Site C, Khayelitsha.

“Members of the community flagged the law enforcement down and provided a tip off to the staff on a suspect whose modus operandi includes impersonating a police officer and robbing people of their belongings.”

“The team acted on the information received together with the SAPS Crime Prevention Unit and upon arriving at the residence of the suspect, his mother opened the door and informed SAPS and law enforcement that her son was asleep. She called him and allowed the staff to enter. Upon investigation, a SAPS bulletproof vest together with a cap and jacket was found as well as three rounds of ammunition.”

The suspect was arrested and taken to Khayelitsha Police Station.

The deployment of the leap officers is based on data and crime trends in different areas.

Fritz said the officers in Hanover Park were sent there after his meeting with the provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata last week where they discussed the spate of shooting incidents across the province. He commended the cordial manner in which the law enforcement and the police “worked together to root out crime”.

“It is incredibly reassuring to see our Leap officers fighting crime and making citizens feel safe. Their deployment is making a tangible difference in the lives of the most vulnerable in our society as they deployed in areas most affected by crime,” he said.

Western Cape premier Alan Winde said while Covid-19 had an impact on crime-fighting plans and the delivery timelines, it was encouraging to see the result after the relaunch of the Leap program.

 “These early positive results are a reflection of the positive impact that increasing law enforcement resources on the ground can have on safety in communities. The Leap officers are working with SAPS in the areas where they are deployed to create safer communities.”

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