Increase in rape and robbery according to stats

Nokululeko Phokane (left) chief of staff with Bheki Cele national minister of police and Lt general Fanie Masemola during the media briefing at SAPS Head Quaters in Durban. Picture Bongani Mbatha /African News Agency (ANA)

Rape cases reported to Diep River police station have more than doubled and business robberies in Kirstenhof have gone up sharply according to the latest crime statistics.

Police Minister Bheki Cele released the statistics last Friday, a month earlier than they are usually released.

They are a record of reported crimes from April 2019 to March 2020.

Rape cases at Diep River went up from seven to 16 cases and business robberies in Kirstenhof jumped from 1 to 9 in this period.

According to the statistics, the country’s rapes climbed from 41 583 for 2018/2019 to 42 289 for 2019/2020.

Included in the top 10 stations in the country for rape were Delft, with 224 rape cases, and Nyanga with 198 rape cases.

Mr Cele said crime was stabilising in the Western Cape after the deployment of the SANDF.

Diep River also saw increases in several other contact crimes, such as robbery with aggravating circumstances – a category that includes carjackings and home and business robberies – which rose by 37 cases, going from 140 to 177 cases.

Business robberies more than tripled, going from five cases last year to 18 cases this year,
murder increased from one case last year to two cases this year and attempted murder from nine cases last year to 12 cases this year.

The murder rate has also increased nationally, going from 21 022 cases to 21 325.

Diep River police spokesman, Constable Zak Marais, said: “Our concentration point at this
stage is aimed at contact crimes as we have noticed there has been an increase in aggravated robberies.”

Constable Marais said all property-related crimes, including home and business burglaries, had reduced in the last year at Diep River.

Home burglaries fell from 346 cases last year to 276 this year at Diep River.

At Kirstenhof, robbery with aggravatingcircumstances increased from 75 cases to 90. Assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm also increased from 45 cases to 49 and sexual offences climbed from 36 to 41 cases. The sexual-offences category includes rape and sexual assault.

This increase reflects the national trends for this crime. Sexual offences across South Africa climbed from 52 420 to 53 293 cases.

Errol Woods, deputy chairperson of Kirstenhof Community Police Forum, said Kirstenhof was more of a property-crime focused precinct.

Property crimes, he noted, had dropped 11.5% from 506 to 448 cases. “The only concern was an increase in business burglaries by 34% from 47 to 63,” said Mr Woods.

“Property-related crimes over a five-year period are showing a 50% decrease which is reassuring.”

At Wynberg, sexual offences decreased by 14 cases from 43 in the 2018/2019 to 29 in the last year.

Common assault also fell by 15 cases, going from 205 cases to 190.

Common robbery, however, increased from 123 reported cases to 157 and robbery with aggravating circumstances increased from 293 to 314 cases.

Business burglaries increased by 23 cases from 136 to 159.

Wynberg police spokesman, Captain Silvino Davids, said the precinct saw a lot of property-related crimes because there were many businesses in the area.

“We have a large business area, especially all the shops on the Main Road, and we have one of the biggest interchanges, with the train station and taxi rank being in one area.”

He advised car owners in the Wynberg area to make use of safe and secure parking areas, to avoid leaving valuables in their car unattended and to avoid street parking in alley ways.

Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said some of the crime statistics were over a year old, which wasn’t helpful when trying to respond to crime patterns.

Mr Fritz said that under the lockdown, the criminal landscape had changed drastically and therefore the statistics provided were unhelpful.

The province’s murders in 2019/20 were the highest in 10 years – 3 975 cases compared to the 2 308 in 2010/11 – and had gone up almost 50% in that time, he said.