The good and bad news is…

There has been an overall decrease in most crime categories in Bellville and some decreases in Durbanville for the April 2015 to March 2016 period.

This was revealed by Police Minister Nathi Nhleko on Friday September 2 during the release of the national crime statistics.

In the overall contact crime category for Bellville, there was a 12.9 percent decrease, with 376 cases of common assault, down from 420 in the previous set of statistics. Common (unarmed) robbery also dropped 17.5 percent from 485 to 400 cases, armed robbery went from 526 cases to 461, a decrease of 12.4 percent, and murders went from six to five cases.

Bellville also experienced a 16.8 percent drop in property-related crimes.

Bellville Community Police Forum chairman Hennie Koekemoer said the crime statistics for the Bellville precinct, bore witness to a job well done by the police and other crime fighters.

“Every crime incident is one too many when one considers the severe impact of crime on the affected victim, but for comparative purposes one can only resort to the clinical statistics.

“We are very comfortable with the latest crime statistics, as compared with those of the pervious measurement year. Reducing crime with an average of 22.6 percent in 16 of the 20 relevant categories is impressive,” said Mr Koekemoer.

He said a drop in common and armed robberies was encouraging as those crimes had spiked in recent years.

“The 16.8 percent reduction in property-related crimes is equally encouraging as this is a turnaround of an ever-increasing crime trend,” he said.

In Durbanville, there was a 6.4 percent increase in the number of contact crimes with 679 cases, up from 638. Common assault was up 27.7 percent from 231 cases to 295. Common robberies rose 26.2 percent with 77 cases reported compared to 61 in the previous year, while armed robberies dropped 4 percent from 149 to 143.

Property-related crime, however, was down 20.4 percent, from 1 592 cases to 1 267. Residential burglaries dropped 26 percent, from to 785 to 581.

Durbanville Community Police Forum chairman Denzil Smerdon attributed the drop to the community being more vigilant as well as strengthened partnerships among the police, neighbourhood watches and security firms.

“The increase in contact crimes is a key measure of violence in society and confirms the need for a cohesive approach to improve community safety as most violence takes place either on private properties and between people who know each other or live in the same communities,” said Mr Smerdon.

He said social upliftment programmes were needed to snuff out the conditions that fuelled violent crime.

“These include investing in youth at risk; keeping children safe and supporting parents; and addressing the role of alcohol, guns and drugs.”

Community Safety MEC Dan Plato says although the crime situation in the province, at first glance, showed slight statistical improvement in 17 crime categories, there were however, 10 crime categories that reflected an increase.

“It is very disturbing that these are mostly violent crime categories. It is also very disturbing that we are witnessing a 10-year high in the province in six of these categories. Nothing less than urgent and decisive responses to these crimes are required.

“I am also concerned that less crime (in the province) has statistically been reported than the year before – 490 383 in 2015/16 compared to 492 963 in 2014/15. This could be a reflection of lower public confidence in complaints actually being attended to effectively. I would caution against reading too much into reported decreases in some crime categories, as too many people still do not report crime to the police,” said Mr Plato.

* The Durbanville CPF encourages all residents to join the neighbourhood watch. Contact cpf. durbanville@gmail.com for more information.