CT crime rate: 'When you combine guns and gangs it's a lethal combination'

You are more likely to be murdered in Cape Town, than any other city in South Africa.

This is one of the findings in the 2018/2019 State of Urban Safety in South Africa Report by the South African Cities Network.

The report also says that Cape Town has very high rates of almost all crime types.

Dr Guy Lamb, director of the Safety and Violence Initiative (SaVI) at UCT looks at what is driving violent crime in the Mother City.

First of all, he points out that the report bases its finding on aggregate crime rates across the city and that the higher rates in certain areas have deep historical roots.

The one thing I think that anyone living in Cape Town knows is that there's major differences and disparities depending on where you live.

Dr Guy Lamb, Director - UCT's Safety and Violence Initiative

There are deep historical reasons for that, socio-economic reasons for that, Cape Town does very much remain divided. Many of the aspects under apartheid still are present today.

Dr Guy Lamb, Director - UCT's Safety and Violence Initiative

Among the risk factors that drive the murder rate, Dr Lamb highlights the availability of guns in the city.

He says there's been a major influx over the past seven to eight years.

The big one at the moment is the availability of firearms combined with groups of individuals that use violence as a way of life and a way of doing business

Dr Guy Lamb, Director - UCT's Safety and Violence Initiative

When you combine guns and gangs it's a lethal combination.

Dr Guy Lamb, Director - UCT's Safety and Violence Initiative

Of course deadly violence is not limited to gangs and Dr Lamb also notes some of the other factors contributing to violent crime.

Alcohol abuse, drug abuse, those play into the issue.

Dr Guy Lamb, Director - UCT's Safety and Violence Initiative

On the topic of police efficiency, he notes that the report relies on statistics up to September 2018 and that new police initiatives have been launched since then.

The stats we're seeing at the moment are only up until September last year. Since then we've seen the launch of the anti-gang unit, we're seeing a number of changes starting to happen, some conversations around how do we actually deal with gang crime specifically.

Dr Guy Lamb, Director - UCT's Safety and Violence Initiative

So there are a lot of plans under way, there have been some changes in terms of policing and we haven't seen the effect of that yet.

Dr Guy Lamb, Director - UCT's Safety and Violence Initiative

The important thing is to watch out for the stats that come out in September and October to see if the changes have made any difference.

Dr Guy Lamb, Director - UCT's Safety and Violence Initiative

To hear more from Dr Lamb, listen below:


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