Number of firearm-related murders in WC increases

Most firearm related crimes were committed in January, according to a study.

FILE: Most firearm related crimes were committed in January, according to a study.

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Community Safety Department says the number of firearm-related murders has spiked by over 10 percent in the last decade.

In a report released by the department today, MEC Dan Plato says the Belhar, Bishop Lavis and Elsies River are among the areas where gun violence is prevalent.

In the province, an average of 35 firearms are reported missing or stolen every day, but says Plato, 90 percent of these are recovered.

This number does not reflect the number of illegal guns in circulation.

According to the study which looked at 300 case dockets for the period 1999 to 2004, most firearm related crimes were committed in January.

The highest number of incidents were recorded on Sundays and Fridays.

Community safety MEC Dan Plato says more must be done to ensure higher conviction rates as 35 percent of all reported cases go unsolved.

Only one in five cases result in conviction.

The study showed Paarl East as the area with the highest conviction rate of 46 percent.

Mitchell's Plain had the lowest conviction rate at five percent.

This, says Plato, is because the community is afraid to testify and the local police station is poorly resourced.