Crime stats mixed bag

Minister of Police Bheki Cele released the annual crime statistics on Tuesday September 11. Picture: Sibonelo Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Murder is on the rise in Wynberg and Diep River police precincts, and burglary has gone up sharply in Kirstenhof, according to the latest national crime statistics.

Police Minister Bheki Cele released the latest stats on Tuesday September 11.

Tracking the period from April 1 last year to March this year, they paint a grim picture of crime in South Africa, with 20 336 murders reported – a 6% hike in the country’s murder rate.

Climbing from two to five cases, the murder rate in Wynberg is nowhere near as alarming as Nyanga – again dubbed the country’s murder capital with 308 murders and a 9.6% increase in the crime – but it follows the nationwide trend. And attempted murder in Wynberg is up from one to seven cases. Common robbery is up 11.6%, from 121 to 135 cases.

Home robberies are down 38%, from 29 to 18 cases. Business robberies dropped from 17 to 14 cases.

Business burglaries dropped from 158 to 156 cases, but burglaries at homes rose 12.2%, from 353 to 396 cases.

Theft of motor vehicle and motorcycles dropped from 162 to 147 cases. Theft out of or from motor vehicles dropped from 702 to 633 cases. Drug-related crime dropped from 639 to 508, while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs rose from 81 to 240 cases.

Wynberg police spokewsoman, Captain Ntombi Nqunqeka,did not respond to questions by the time of going to print.

Wynberg Community Police Forum chairwoman, Shamila Nicholas, said most of the crime categories in the precinct remained constant over the years, except home and business robberies.

She said thefts from cars in parking lots near the library and Pick * Pay in particular had increased. She urged the public not to leave valuables in their cars.

“Street robberies also increased in Main Road, subways and at the railway interchange. Most victims were targeted with a knife and gun,” said Ms Nicholas.

Murder in Diep River is up from one to four cases. The sexual offences category increased 6.7%, from 15 to 16 cases. Carjacking is up 20%, from 10 to 12 cases.

Common robbery dropped from 91 to 77, cases. Home robberies were unchanged at 28 cases. Business robberies dropped from 20 to 11 cases.

Business burglaries are up 12.5%, from 64 to 72 cases, but home burglaries dropped 24%, from 459 to 349 cases.

Theft out of motor vehicle and motorcycle decreased from 137 to 128. Theft out of motor vehicle decreased from 605 reported cases to 403.

The illegal possession of firearms and ammunition increased from 1 to 4 cases. Drug-related crimes fell from 114 reported cases to 74. Cases involving driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs fell from 109 to 52.

Diep River CPF chairman Robbert Rijkers urged the community to fulfil its “social and moral obligation” to support the SAPS to keep crime and other forms of social disorder at bay. He said community partnerships played an important role in the precinct.

In Kirstenhof, murders fell from 4 to 1, while common robbery fell from 63 to 42 cases. Robberies at home fell from 14 to 11 cases, robberies at businesses rose 33%, from six to eight cases.

Burglaries at businesses are up 29.5%, from 78 to 101 cases, and home burglaries rose 28.2%, from 241 to 309 cases.

Theft of motor vehicle and motorcycle fell from 73 reported cases to 61. Theft out of or from motor vehicles fell from 247 to 210. Drug-related crimes fell from 189 to 130, while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs fell from 62 to 37.

Kirstenhof police station spokeswoman Sergeant Deidre Solomons said the station’s top brass was pleased with the statistics despite shortages in staff and other resources.

Kirstenhof CPF deputy chairman Errol Wood said a lack of staff and resources was the reason the CPF remains concerned about a drop in arrests made in proactive police operations to detect illegal drug, alcohol and firearm crimes.

“A large part of the reason for this is the decrease in the number of staff and vehicles at the station,” he said.

Mr Wood said the CPF was also concerned about the increase in property crimes such as residential and business burglaries.

Sergeant Solomons said thefts from vehicles had dropped because of the community’s vigilance and the installation of security cameras around the precinct.

“ (This) serves as as strong deterrent by providing additional eyes that capture neighbourhood crimes and provide crucial leads to aid investigations,” she said.

With the increase of commercial crimes from 123 reported cases to 143 cases, a 16.3% increase this year, Sergeant Solomons said this crime category is challenging to solve because of the internet’s “borderless nature”.

She said the station would work to educate the public. She urged residents to be cautious in befriending unknown people on the internet and in handling spoof emails when carrying out transactions.