Police update on fight against gangs

Western Cape police say they are trying to uproot deep gang systems and cultures in the province.

An eight-year-old boy, who was killed by gangs in Steenberg, was laid to rest on 28 June 2012. Picture: Nathan Adams/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape police top brass has admitted the war against gangsterism in the province is a work in progress.

They briefed the media in Cape Town on Thursday about gang-related crimes.

The province's acting police commissioner Peter Jacobs says there is a wide distribution of gangs across the city.

He says the notorious 28 prison gang is about 200-years-old.

"They have deep systems and cultures that we have to uproot."

Jacobs says the fact that gangs are so deeply rooted in communities remains one of their biggest challenges.

"We have to ensure that we can deal with their financial resources. They can employ expensive advocates so we have to look into that as well."

Between October and December 2012, police introduced Operation Combat in seven gang ridden areas, confiscating 32 firearms, opening more than 1,600 drug cases and more than 30 attempted murder dockets.

Meanwhile, over 25 people, including children, were killed in gang related violence across the province.

Schoolchildren get caught in the crossfire while others are forced to join gangs.

At the same time, a police commander says they've found there's a direct correlation between domestic violence and gang-related crimes.

Between April and December 2012 more than 1,400 cases of domestic violence were reported in Hanover Park and Philippi.

Statistics also showed the number of cases increased during the festive season.

Nyanga police's cluster commander Robbie Roberts says, "If you look at the crimes that were committed in terms of gang violence and you look at the crimes link to domestic violence, it becomes clear that there's no difference."