Sexual offences on the rise in Kraaifontein

Kraaifontein Brigadier Gerda Van Niekerk.

Rape, sexual assaults and sexual offences are up in Kraaifontein, but most contact crimes – including murder and attempted murder – in the northern policing precincts, including Brackenfell and Kuils River, have either dropped or stabilised.

This is according to the latest national crime statistics. Released last Thursday, they are a record of reported crimes over the past fiscal year.

They showed the country had 21 022 murders from the beginning of April in 2018 to the end of March in 2019 – 686 more than the previous year – an increase of 3.4%. In the Western Cape, murders increased by 6.6% from 3729 cases last year to 3 974 this year with the top cause being gang-related

Kraaifontein precinct was ranked 18th among the top-30 worst police precincts in the country for rape. The station recorded 173 cases – 19 more than the previous year. Sexual assaults increased from 25 to 35 cases. Murders dropped from 186 to 151 cases.

Malicious damage to property in Kraaifontein went up 10.3%, from 659 cases to 727.

Kraaifontein CPF secretary Clamen Solomons said vehicle theft remained a big concern, with a 41% increase from 126 cases to 178, and he called the rape and sexual-assault statistics “shocking”.

“Our areas where shebeens are located are rape hotspots, and we get our guys to do patrols in those areas too, but most rape incidents are hard to keep an eye on as it is coming from inside our people’s homes.”

Although the army’s deployment has been extended to March next year, Scottsville Neighbourhood Watch chairman Gavin Riddles said the statistics would remain “hideous” because the deployment was “a total waste as they are just showoffs”.

In Kuils River, home robberies dropped from 73 to 49 cases and murder was down 31%, from 35 to 24 cases, but the precinct’s station commander Colonel Jaycee Naidoo said crime remained a concern for police.

“One murder is a murder too much,” he said.

The increase in sexual assaults, from 16 to 32 cases, was a surprise, said Colonel Naidoo.

“In most cases, sexual assault cases are not always reported. With the increase in numbers, it proves that our communities are coming forward to report crimes as we always encourage them to do.”

He said more staff were being deployed to hotspots.

Meanwhile, Brackenfell police precinct has seen rapes double from 8 to 16 cases. Sexual offences went up 64.7% from 17 cases to 28 this year.

Murders have stayed at 9 cases.

Business robberies went up by 33.3% from 12 to 16 cases and thefts from vehicles climbed from 452 to 457 cases.

Brackenfell CPF chairman Werner Victor said rapes and sexual assaults were hard to control as the reported cases were coming from inside homes and in some instances victims had reported cases that had happened long ago.

“Time is running away with us we need resources and more police on the crimes to ensure we reduce our crimes,” he said.

Mr Victor said Brackenfell neighbourhood watches, security companies and the CPF would continue to work with the police in the fight against crime.

Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said it was concerning that the province had 18.9% of the country’s murders but only 11.6% of the population. The province could no longer wait on the police to take action, he said.

“SAPS needs to adopt evidence-based policing, which would lead to deployment at key times in key hotspot locations. We need our police to be in these hotspots before crimes are committed, not after. My department will conduct an in-depth analysis of these crime stats, in order to shed more light on specific trends, crime categories and a suite of proposed responses.”

Premier Alan Winde said: “We continue our call for policing to become a provincial mandate as these statistics have shown that the nationally managed SAPS have lost the war on crime.”