Substance abuse blamed for WC’s escalating crime rate

Drug related incidents, burglaries at residential properties and murder are the most worrisome crimes.

FILE: Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato said substance abuse was giving rise to the murder rate in many local communities. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Substance abuse has been identified as the main culprit behind the escalating crime rate in the Western Cape.

Along with poverty and inadequate police visibility, it's been revealed as a strong motivator behind illegal and violent activity.

This was revealed in the latest Policing Needs and Priority report, which details some of the most feared crimes in the province.

Drug-related incidents, burglary at residential properties and murder are the most worrisome when it comes to crime in the Western Cape.

Community Safety MEC Dan Plato on Tuesday said these topped the list in the 2014/2015 Policing Needs and Priority report.

"Burglary, in many of the communities is a major problem; also substance abuse is giving rise to murder rate in many of our communities."

Plato said the report would be handed to the South African Police Service's national leadership later this year.

Meanwhile, statistician general Pali Lehohla said poor service delivery and high levels of crime contributed to the public's poor perception of the criminal justice system.

Using the recently released victims of crime survey results, Lehohla said the study looked at the three elements of the criminal justice system and what percentage of the public perceives them favourably.

"Correctional service is the least that the public is dissatisfied with, the police 59 percent and the courts about 64 percent. But more generally, the level of appreciation of the system is not excellent."