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Poor town planning holding cops back

The SAPS says it's tough trying to find crime scenes in Khayelitsha.

Response to crime in the township is difficult because shacks are badly designed and unnumbered - police. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The poor design of informal settlements is hindering police in areas like Khayelitsha, Western Cape police said on Thursday.

Policing in the township was thrust into the spotlight last year when Western Cape Premier Helen Zille established a commission of inquiry into policing after a spike in vigilante killings.

The matter was raised again at a public meeting on Thursday, just days after a mob in Makhaza beat and burnt a suspected thief to death.

Provincial Police Commissioner Arno Lamoer said structural factors play a significant role in how effectively law enforcement officers can combat crime.

"The response time has been affected by the fact that there is no proper street lighting. The shacks are not properly numbered so automatically it takes longer to get to the shack. There are no proper access roads, which makes it look as though we take longer."

But at least one Khayelitsha resident believes police are doing their best under the circumstances.

"I think the police are doing a great job but their resources are always a problem. I don't blame them because they're doing their best with the few resources they have."