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Spike in crimes targeting kids,elderly

Nathi Nhleko says it's unacceptable that society's vulnerable continue to fall prey to violent crimes.

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Police have expressed concern over the rate at which the elderly and young children are falling victim to violent crimes in South Africa.

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko visited the family of three-year-old Luke Tibbetts earlier on Thursday.

Tibbetts remains on life support in hospital after being shot in the head by a stray bullet while sitting on his mother's lap at the back of a vehicle transporting them on Saturday.

It was revealed earlier that the second suspect arrested in connection with the shooting of the boy was charged, but only with pointing a firearm.

Keenan Mokwena appeared briefly in the Newlands Magistrates Court but was not charged with attempted murder as expected.

Mokwena maintains he is innocent and claims the bullet which wounded Tibbetts was meant for him.

He was arrested on Wednesday following further police investigations and statements implicating him.

The first accused Lindray Khakhu was charged with two counts of attempted murder on Tuesday.

The minister said it is unacceptable that society's vulnerable continue to fall prey to such acts.

Nhleko said officials have noted a growing trend which sees children and the elderly being direct targets of crime.

"The elderly being subjected to issues of rape and the other extreme is the killing of children."

The minister also visited a family in Boschkop in Pretoria, where an 89-year-old farm owner was murdered.

CHILDREN CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE

Recently, there have been a number of incidents reported where a child has been caught in the crossfire of crime.

A five-year-old girl who was shot and wounded earlier this week suspected gangsters is now recovering in hospital.

The child and her mother were at their neighbours' house in Delft when two men allegedly opened fire.

A stray bullet hit the young girl in the foot.

Last month, four-year-old Taegrin Morris was killed in a hijacking in Boksburg after he was dragged behind his parents' hijacked car.

In another incident last month, a five-year-old girl was shot in the back in Wesbank near Delft in suspected gang-related violence.

In a separate incident, a one-year-old girl was discharged from hospital last month after she was wounded in gang crossfire in the same area.

She was admitted to the health facility following a drive-by shooting .

The toddler was in her mother's arms while walking to a nearby shop when the incident occurred.

Meanwhile, Bronkhorstspruit police are still searching for those responsible for kidnapping five-year-old Mongezi Phike during a hijacking.