It’s still a war zone out there

The crime stats were released last week.

Murders have declined across the Kraaifontein, Brackenfell and Kuils River police precincts, according to the latest crime statistics, but the number of violent deaths in Kraaifontein still resembles something out of a war zone.

Kraaifontein is ranked among the top-30 stations in the country with the highest recorded contact crimes.

Ten of those stations are in the Western Cape and nine in the city of Cape Town.

Released by Police Minister Fikile Mbalula on Tuesday last week, the crime stats log reported crimes in the country from the beginning April last year to the end of March this year.

Murders dropped by more than 6% in Kraaifontein when compared to figures for the same period last year, but that still left 142 dead.

Meanwhile attempted murder rose 19% from 134 to 160 cases and common assault climbed almost 12% from 880 to 985.

This was part of an overall 2.4% increase in the contact crimes’ category, which also includes sexual offences, assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm (GBH), common robbery and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Sexual offences – which includes rape – were down 4.4%, but the actual number of cases (a drop from 180 to 172) still made for depressing reading.

Rape made up the majority of the sexual offence cases, although it was down 12%, from 139 to 122 cases.

Other red flags in Kraaifontein were robbery with aggravating circumstances, up more than 7%, from 708 to 761; carjacking up 37%, from 46 to 63; cash-in-transit robberies, from 1 to 3; business burglaries up 14% from 140 to 160.

Arrests for illegal possession of guns and ammunition were up 17%, from 129 to 151, and drug-rleated crime was up a whopping 35% on a massive base: 3 332 to 4 502.

In Kuils River, murder fell 27%, from 22 to 16 cases, but the worrying number in this precinct’s contact crime stats was for sexual offences, which rose 11.4%, from 79 to 88 cases.

Rape is included in that category and it accounted for much of the movement with cases increasing 13.5% from 52 to 59.

Other red flags were for home robberies, which rose 13%, from 38 to 43 and residential burglaries, rising 2% on a big base (915 to 933 cases). Shoplifting was up 13% from 226 to 255.

Brackenfell’s murders dropped from 6 to 2 cases. Other contact crimes were also down, except for for common robbery – up 30% from 50 to 65 – and armed robbery – up 14% from 85 to 97. Business robberies were up 20% from 15 to 18. Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs cases shot up 82% from 92 to 168.

Community Safety MEC Dan Plato said almost a quarter (22.78%) of all crime reported in South Africa happen in the Western Cape and it was evident that too many communities in the province did not have the luxury of feeling safe in their communities.

Wallacedene Community Police Forum chairman Derrick Letaila said the community needed to come together to fight crime.

“There problem is our community. The people are so ignorant. They don’t want to join neighbourhood watches or the CPF to be able to fight crime. Police alone cannot fight crime they need our involvement. And we still call everyone to unite against crime.”

Sean McCleland, the chairman of Tygerberg Cluster Community Police Forum, which includes Brackenfell, said good communication and a strong partnership between the community and the police had helped to reduce crime in the area.

Mr Plato said it was a fact that violent crime was highest in areas where the police were most under resourced, and he repeated his call for the army to be used in neighbourhoods plagued by gang violence.

“This is a short-term measure to stabilise the gang violence situation,” he said.