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WC police fear gangs gaining strength

Officer Jeremy Vearey says police will not be fooled by the current peace period.

FILE: The victim of a 2011 gang shooting in Hanover Park. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Police on Wednesday said they're concerned Cape Town gangs may be in a recruitment phase at the moment.

Officers say gang violence seems to have died down in areas such as Hanover Park and Manenberg, while there appears to be a recent flare-up in the Ocean View area.

Jeremy Vearey is the commander of the Western Cape's anti-gang crackdown, Operation Combat.

He says police will not be fooled by the current peace period.

"It's during quiet times that their strength grows and it is during quiet times that business capacity increases."

The Western Cape Department of Community Safety says it is preparing to hold several roadshows in an attempt to deter teenagers from joining gangs.

Khayelitsha, Valhalla Park and Saldanha Bay have been identified as key areas.

In Khayelitsha, gangs like the Vatos and the Vuras are growing in popularity with youngsters.

Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato says he is well aware of the problem.

"You can't address [the issue] with the youth alone. You need to address it with the leadership of the area and particularly the parents."

A commission of inquiry into allegations of police inefficiency in Khayelitsha briefly looked at the issue of gangs in the township during a series of public hearings.

Experts warned the problem needed to be quashed before it got out of control.

WATCH: The Department of Correctional Services reports that around 50,000 of SA's prisoners are between the age of 14 and 25. EWN speaks to 26-year-old Lazola Sikhutshwa, an ex-gangster, who spent nine years behind bars. He turned his life around after being released.