VRCID braces for more crime as lockdown eases

A VRCID officer on patrol.

The organisation that helps to keep the business end of Bellville clean and crime free says it’s ready for an expected increase in crime under level 2 lockdown.

Public gatherings of more than 50 people are still prohibited, but the relaxed restrictions mean that, among other things, alcohol and tobacco can again be sold and restrictions on inter-provincial travel have been lifted. More activity on the streets means crime is likely to increase, says the Voortrekker Road Corridor Improvement District.

According to its CEO Derek Bock, crime in the area dropped during lockdown – they made 31 arrests in Bellville, Stikland and Parow, mostly for theft and vandalism. But under level 2, the VRCID’s safety officers are expecting to be busier.

Mr Bock said: “We urge the public to abide by lockdown rules and restrict movement as much as possible – not only to protect your health but also your safety. When you are on the move, we urge you to report any suspicious behaviour that you might come across. Even if it’s just a hunch or gut feeling – this can be the difference between life and death in some situations. Let’s rather be safe than sorry.” 

According to the national crime statistics, released on July 31, murders in Bellville rose from 10 cases in the 2018/2019 financial year to 17 cases for 2019/2020. Burglaries at Bellville businesses rose from 215 to 234 cases while business robberies rose from 28 to 53 cases. Residential burglaries dropped from 623 to 564 cases, but hijacking and vehicle theft rose from 23 to 28 cases and from 211 to 213 cases, respectively. 

Murders in Durbanville more than doubled, from 9 to 21 cases, and rape cases rose 59%, from 17 to 27 cases. Property crimes in Durbanville dropped 6.3%, from 1115 cases  to 1045 cases. The category includes burglaries, vehicle theft and theft from a vehicle. Residential burglaries dropped from 156 to 127 cases.

Durbanville Community Police Forum secretary Maritha Roukema said many of those cases happened in Fisantekraal, plagued by alcohol abuse and other social ills.

“We appeal to the community to join hands with all role players active within Fisantekraal as active members of the neighbourhood watch, victim support teams, and participate in the local social crime prevention entities’ programmes,” she said.