Murder up in Bellville, Durbanville

Murders have increased markedly in Durbanville and Bellville, while most other crime categories have dropped according to the latest crime statistics.

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

They red flag murder in both Durbanville (up from seven to 12 cases) and Bellville (up from 5 to 14 cases).

Rape is also up in Durbanville, from 24 to 28 cases, as is sexual assault, from seven to 13 cases.

But, overall, the contact crime category for Bellville shows a 4.7% drop, with 1 367 cases, down from 1 434.

Common (unarmed) robbery also fell 7.3% from 400 to 371 cases, but armed robbery rose 1.5%, from 461 cases to 468, and drug-related crime rose 13%, from 1 456 to 1 650 cases.

Bellville police station commander Brigadier Andre van Dyk said about 70% of all recorded crime happened in the Bellville CBD, Voortrekker Road Corridor, and Lower Oakdale and Boston areas.

He said a far greater emphasis had been placed on tackling drug dealing.

“Arrests for the illicit sale of drugs have shown significant increases. The establishment of a dedicated undercover office specialising in drug traps in Bellville has been very successful. Prostitution which forms part of the mandate of this office will receive more attention during the festive season,” he said.

Bellville also experienced a 12.2% drop in property-related crimes, with 2 694 cases compared to the 3 070 cases in the previous year.

Brigadier Van Dyk said housebreaking and theft from vehicles would be top priorities during the festive season, as well as street robberies along the Voortrekker Road Corridor and the Bellville public transport interchange.

Brigadier Van Dyk said contact and property crime categories had fallen year on year since 2015 – something he attributed to good partnerships with the community.

In Durbanville, contact crimes fell 16.8% from 679 to 565. Common assault fell 25.8% from 295 to 219. Armed robbery fell 7.7% from 143 to 132.

Property-related crime fell 5.4%, from 1 267 to 1 167. Home burglaries fell 4.1% percent, from 581 to 557.

Durbanville Community Police Forum vice-chairman Glenn Schooling said the rise in murders, sexual offences and attempted murders – most of which had been reported in the Sector 1 (Fisantekraal) area – were a concern.

“Many of these crimes are committed by people known to the victims, with the abuse of alcohol as a contributing factor. This also makes it very difficult to police. Rape and sexual assault can at best be prevented by people taking care where and with whom they mix and frequent,” he said.

Mr Schooling said non-residential robberies were also a concern.

He felt better crime intelligence would get more illegal guns and ammunition off the street and prevent a lot of crime.

“Every illegal bullet and firearm confiscated will prevent many attempted murders and murders taking place,” he said.

The DCPF worked well with the police, neighbourhood watches and armed-response companies, and surveillance cameras had helped to curb crime, but still more could be done to “fight the scourge of crime” including tackling under-staffing at Fisantekraal police station.

Community Safety MEC Dan Plato reiterated calls for the army to be deployed in communities plagued by gang violence.

He said almost a quarter of crime reported in South Africa happened in the Western Cape.

“It is evident that too many communities in the province do not have the luxury of feeling safe in their communities. This is most often the result of insufficient policing resources.”

Mr Plato said a disturbing trend over the past three years showed a decreasing statistical reporting of crime by communities.

A total of 361 694 crimes had been reported by Western Cape communities in 2016/2017. This is 13 258 fewer than in 2015/2016 (374 952) and 23 242 fewer than in 2014/2015 (381 936).

“I urge communities in the Western Cape to continue to report all incidents of crime to their nearest police station. The people of this province need to have the necessary confidence in the police that those responsible for crime will be caught and will face their day in court.”

Durbanville police did not respond to questions about the crime statistics by the time this edition went to print.