Crime increases slightly

Minister of Police Bheki Cele and his department released crime stats before Parliament last week.

Crime reported at Rondebosch,Pinelands, Mowbray,Woodstock and Claremont police stations remained relatively unchanged , with slight increases in property-related crimes and shoplifting.

This is according to the latest national crime statistics released last Thursday for the 2018/2019 financial year, which showed the country had 21 022 murders, 686 more than the previous year – an increase of 3.4%.

In the Western Cape, murders increased 6.6% from 3 729 cases last year to 3 974 this year.

While the national statistics showed an increase in murders, Rondebosch police recorded no cases for the third year in a row. Since 2009, the station had only recorded three murders, one in 2011/2012 and another two in 2015/2016.

There were seven rape cases, the same as the previous year; a 4.5% increase in theft out of or from motor vehicles, from 418 to 437 cases; theft of motor vehicles and motorcycle increased by 20.1% from 149 to 179 cases, and there was a 53.2% increase in cases of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, from 77 cases to 118.

The station, however, saw a 21.1% drop in robbery with aggravating circumstances from 128 to 101 cases, a 18.2% decrease in burglary at residential premises from 395 to 323 while shoplifting cases dropped from 504 to 463.

Rondebosch Community Improvement District manager Shirley Aldum said they had been fortunate as there were very few serious crimes and they mainly had attempted trespassing incidents.

“We are generally dealing with ‘wall hopping’ incidents where perpetrators try to steal whatever is lying around in the yard but, to date, nothing of value had been stolen,” she said.

In Pinelands there was a 60.4% drop in drug-related crimes, from 164 to 65 cases, assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm went from 24 to 15 cases – a decrease of 37.5%, while there was a 4% drop in theft out of or from motor vehicles, from 252 to 242. There were three rapes compared to seven the previous year – a 57.1% decrease.

Burglary at non-residential premises rose from 75 to 79 cases, while burglary at residential premises increased slightly by 2.8% from 216 to 222 cases. Shoplifting increased by 10.7% from 28 to 31 cases.

Pinelands acting station commander Captain Anton van der Berg said they were generally satisfied with the statistics, as they had brought down contact crimes by 18.7%, sexual offences by 36.4%, trio crimes (house robbery, business robbery and carjacking) by 8.6%, contact crimes by 17.9% and other serious crimes by 26.7%.

“We specifically focused on the prevention of ‘policeable’ crimes such as robberies, burglaries, theft of motor vehicles, theft out of / from motor vehicles and theft.”

Cellphones, copper pipes, water meters, bicycles and tools were the items most commonly stolen.

Captain Van der Berg said the legalisation of marijuana for personal use was behind the drop in drug-related crimes.

Theft out of or from motor vehicles increased by 25.7% in Mowbray from 136 to 171 cases, common assault rose from 28 to 35 cases while malicious damage to property went from 88 to 93 cases – a 5.7% increase.

Rape cases doubled from two to four and murders from one to two cases.

Burglary at residential premises dropped by 7% from 172 to 160 cases and theft of motor vehicle or motorcycle saw a 15.2% decrease from 99 to 84 cases.

Jonathan Hobday, chairman of Mowbray Community Police Forum (CPF), said there was an uptick in crime, especially property-related crimes and robberies, which was worrying for the CPF.

He said that while police did their best to curb crime, visible policing had been compromised due to staff shortages.

“The Mowbray community has put steps in place to assist the police with the help of the two city improvement districts in the area. The residents and private security companies have stepped up efforts to ensure that crime is kept at bay,” he said.

The Groote Schuur City Improvement District (GSCID) said it would continue to assist police with crime prevention, focusing on continued partnership and joint initiatives.

In Woodstock, robbery at non-residential premises rose from 17 to 30 cases – a 76.5% increase. Burglary at residential premises saw a 27.5% increase from 273 to 348 cases, sexual assault cases doubled from nine to 19 cases, while theft of motor vehicle or motorcycle saw a slight 2.7% increase from 224 to 230 cases. Shoplifting went from 80 to 93 cases – a 16.3% increase, while commercial crimes rose by 4%, from 176 to 183 cases.

Malicious damage to property dropped from 153 to 132 cases, theft out of or from motor vehicle went from 950 cases to 879 – a 7.5% decrease – and common assault cases fell by 12.9% from 140 to 122 cases.

Theft out of or from motor vehicle was up 29.1% in Claremont, from 625 to 807 cases; common assault increased by 24% from 96 to 119 cases; carjacking increased from eight to 18 cases, and shoplifting increased by 6.9% from 275 to 401 cases.

Common robbery fell by 4.3%, from 117 to 112 cases, robbery at residential premises dropped 30%, from 43 to 30 cases and burglary at non-residential premises dropped by 40.4%, from 89 to 53 cases.

Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said the province could no longer wait on the police to take action. “SAPS needs to adopt evidence-based policing, which would lead to deployment at key times in key hot spot locations.

“We need our police to be in these hot spots before crimes are committed, not after.”