Violent crime increases

Police Minister Bheki Cele has released the crime statistics for the 2017/2018 financial year.

Violent crime is up nationwide, according to the latest crime stats, and that trend is reflected in crime data for Pinelands, Rondebosch, Mowbray, Claremont and Woodstock police precincts.

Robbery with aggravating circumstances has gone up across the board in those precincts.

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 with 20 336 murders reported – a 6% hike in the country’s murder rate.

While data for southern suburbs precincts is nowhere near as disturbing as that for Nyanga – again dubbed the country’s murder capital with 308 murders and a 9.6% increase in the crime – the figures do point to spikes in several categories of contact crimes.

In Pinelands, there were four murders, compared to none during the previous reporting period. Sexual of-
fences rose from nine to 11 cases. Robbery with aggravating circumstances shot up 28% from 113 to 145 cases

Carjacking doubled from four to eight. The suburb recorded a 21.5% drop in drug-related crime, from 209 cases to 164.

Lieutenant Colonel Helena Mouton, of Pinelands police, said two of the murders related to a single incident. The victims had been from outside the area and reputedly had links to the underworld.

In Claremont and Kenilworth, murder rose from two to three cases. Robbery with aggravating circumstances went up 2% from 182 to 186 cases. Carjacking increased 166.7% from three to eight cases. Burglaries at businesses are up 32.8% from 67 to 89.

In Claremont drug-related crime dropped from 82 to 63 cases.

In Mowbray, assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm shot up 200% from four to 12 cases.

Sexual offences doubled, from six to 12 cases. Sexual assaults went from none to five, but rape dropped from six to two. Robbery with aggravating circumstances rose 14% from 103 to 118 cases, and common robbery is up 28% from 60 to 77 cases.

Drug-related crime dropped from 80 to 47 cases.

Jonathan Hobday, chairman of the Mowbray Community Police Forum, said they were worried about staffing shortages at Mowbray police station.

“The simple fact is that Mowbray police station, as well as most of the other police stations in the peninsula, is hamstrung by a critical shortage of personnel, and, until this situation is remedied, policing operations will remain precarious and unsustainable,”he said.

In Rondebosch, sexual offences went up 85.7%, from 6 to 13.

Rape is up 133%, from three to seven cases. Robbery with aggravating circumstances is up 28%, from 100 to 128 cases and common robbery is up 27%, from 55 to 70 cases.

Burglaries at businesses are up 300%, from six to 24 cases, and home burglaries are up 8.5%, from 364 to 395 cases. Shoplifting and malicious damage to property are down 32.4% and 45.8%, respectively.

Shirley Aldum, manager of the Rondebosch Community Improvement District, said the sexual offences were a red flag for them.

“We regularly send out warnings appealing to students and pupils to be aware of their surroundings and to walk in groups when commuting back and forth to school or university/colleges as our children’s safety is a high priority and a concern.”

In Woodstock, murder cases rose from four to five. Sexual offences are up 30.8%, from 26 to 34 cases. Sexual assault has climbed from five to nine cases, rape from 19 to 22 cases. Robbery with aggravating circumstances is up 10.5%, from 352 to 389 cases, and common robbery is up 2%, from 244 to 249 cases. Drug-related crime is down 39%, from 1054 to 645 cases.

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