South plagued by robbery, stats reveal

Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko released the annual crime statistics last week.

Robbery is one of the main crimes plaguing residents living in the Bulletin’s distribution areas, according to the latest crime statistics released by Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko on Friday September 2.

The statistics are for the period of April 1 2015 to March 31 this year, and Community Safety MEC Dan Plato said at first glance they showed slight improvement in 17 crime categories in the Western Cape when compared to the previous reporting period for 2014/2015.

“However, 10 crime categories reflect an increase. It is very disturbing that these are mostly violent crime categories. It is also very disturbing that we are witnessing a 10-year high in the province in six of these categories. Nothing less than urgent and decisive responses to these crimes are required.”

Mr Plato fears the public may be losing confidence in the police’s ability to effectively attend to complaints. He points to fewer reported crimes in the province for this year’s statistics (490 383) than the 492 963 reported in 2014/2015.

“This could be a reflection of lower public confidence in complaints actually being attended to effectively,” he said.

While the violent-crimes statistics in Bulletin areas were mostly static, the exception was the Kirstenhof precinct, where there was an increase in contact crimes with a 33 percent increase in sexual assault specifically.

Kirstenhof had the most categories that decreased, 15, while there was an increase in 11. Commercial crime was another of Kirstenhof’s big risers with a 38 percent increase, but the biggest category increase was a 325 percent jump in house robberies, from four to 17.

Burglaries were down from 438 to 400. Thefts out of motor vehicles were down from 439 to 351 and theft was down from 907 to 811. Drug-related crimes were down from 350 to 319.

In Diep River there were 650 residential burglaries, up from 627; 653 thefts out of motor vehicles, up from 578; and 987 cases of other theft, down from 1093.

Warrant Officer Keith Chandler, of Diep River police, said these thefts were mostly from “street robberies”.

“The robberies that are occurring in our station area are street robberies, that is on the way to and from the railway station , school and work. The most common items being stolen are cellphones, iPads and wallets. The most prevalent areas hit are roads leading from the railway stations,” he said.

There was a 47 percent increase in armed robberies, from 116 to 171 and and 55.9 percent increase in non-residential burglaries, from 59 to 92. There was a 22 percent increase in drug-related crime, from 118 to 144.

Wynberg police stations stats showed a decrease in all but 10 crime categories.

There was a small drop in residential burglaries, from 363 to 359, and a 14 percent increase in non-residential burglaries, 92 to 105. There was also a 25 percent increase in commercial crimes and a 35 percent increase in driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Wynberg also investigated 1 017 theft cases, down from 1 057, and 582 cases of drug-related crimes, up from 574.

Overall in the Western Cape, there was a 1.2 percent increase in murder – on average three more murders reported a month; a 2.76 percent increase in robbery with aggravating circumstances – on average 51 more cases reported every month; there was a 0.6 percent increase in contact crimes – on average 57 more cases reported every month; a 5.9 percent increase in drug related crime – on average 14 more cases reported daily; and a 19.3 percent increase in house robberies – on average 34 more cases reported every month.

“It remains of great concern that there is still, on average, seven cases of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition reported every day. We seem to be unable to stop the illegal trade and unregulated use of these firearms, or to effectively determine where they are coming from,” said Mr Plato.

In the Western Cape, the stats show a 10-year high in contact crimes – 116 858 cases reported, of which there were:

* 3 224 murder cases reported.

* 41 304 common assault cases reported.

* 23 732 armed robbery cases reported.

* 2 032 hijacking cases reported.

* 2 574 robbery at residential premises cases reported.

* 93 996 drug-related crime cases reported.

* 108 782 crimes detected as a result of police action cases reported.

“Drug-related crime in the Western Cape now equates to 36.26 percent of the total drug-related crime in the country, compared to the 33.2 percent of the total in the country in 2014/15,” Mr Plato said.

* Two men posing as customers robbed the KFC in Gabriel Road, Plumstead, on Tuesday evening, at 8.15pm.

“When the store was empty, the one suspect jumped over the counter and put a knife at the teller’s throat,” Warrant Officer Chandler said. “The second suspect drew a firearm and held the rest of the staff up while the first suspect took money out of the till. Both suspects then fled the store, climbed into a white VW Polo and fled.”

Anyone with information can contact 021 710 7345.