Crime stats questioned

Grassy Park police station.

The latest crime statistics were released by Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula last week but some community leaders feel these are not a true reflection of what is happening as many incidents go unreported.

The statistics cover the period between April 1 last year and March 31 this year and show a decrease in crime in the Western Cape.

A total of 361 694 crimes were reported in 2016/17. This is 13 258 fewer incidents than in 2015/16 (374 952) and 23 242 fewer than in 2014/15 (384 936).d

MEC for Community Safety, Dan Plato, said the lack of reporting of crime has come under the spotlight this year.

“I remain concerned with a worrying trend over the last three years which shows decreasing statistical reporting of crime by communities,” he said.

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

Public relations officer for the Grassy Park Community Police Forum (CPF), Philip Bam, said there are many crimes where cases were not opened.

“SAPS should maybe check how many complaints have been logged, then we would have a true indication of the crimes being committed,” he said.

“Residents should report even if they think it is insignificant and if they are sent away from the station they must report this to the CPF so that we can open up cases against those officers,”said Ms Evans.

The statistics show that gang-related crimes, including illegal possession of drugs and firearms, are still a huge concern for Steenberg and Grassy Park police stations.

This can be linked to the gang war and shootings in the precincts which include Ottery, Parkwood, Lotus River, Lavender Hill, Cafda and Steenberg.

At Grassy Park police station, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition decreased by 1.1 percent from 89 cases to 88 while Steenberg police’s decreased by 21.1 percent from 114 cases to 90.

While the number of drug-related crimes decreased by 7.3 percent at Steenberg police station, the total is still high, going from 1 831 cases to 1 698.

Drug-related crime increased by 27.9 percent from 1 378 to 1 763 cases at Grassy Park police station.

Murder cases also decreased in both Steenberg and Grassy Park precincts, from 58 to 43, and 42 cases to 28, respectively.

Grassy Park police acting station commander Lieutenant Colonel Christian Esau confirmed that the crime statistics are heavily affected by gangsterism in their precinct.

House robberies have also increased drastically,by 300 percent from 6 to 24 cases.

“Robberies, especially house robberies in the Fairways, Grassy Park, Parkwood and Lotus River areas have increased which is a problem. We have deployed more officers and even deployed our office staff so we are doing all we can,” said Lieutenant Colonel Christian Esau.

The Wynberg precinct has seen increases in contact crimes, sexual offences and aggravated robbery.

Robbery with aggravated circumstance increased by 30.6 percent from 186 to 243 cases; carjackings increased by 55.6 percent, from nine to 14 cases; robbery at residential premises increased by 107.1 percent, from 14 to 29 cases; and robberies at non-residential areas by 88.9 percent, from nine to 17 cases.

Wynberg police did not respond to Southern Mail’s requests for comment on the crime statistic before this edition went to print.

Under the category contact crimes for Muizenberg police, which covers Seawinds and some nearby informal settlements, Sharedon Park and Vrygrond, , murder decreased by 7.4%, from 27 to 25 cases; assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm showed a reduction of 19.1%, from 175 to 168 cases; and common assault showed a reduction of 20.5%, from 366 to 291.

Robbery with aggravated circumstances (street robberies) has, however, increased by 1.7%, from 288 to 293 cases.

Captain Stephen Knapp, spokesperson for Muizenberg police, said aggravated robberies, which include carjacking, cash-in- transit robberies and house robberies, increased by 8.6%, from 58 to 63 cases which is a concern to the station. “We aim to tackle this problem. It must, however, be highlighted that the community have an important role to play in being aware of their surroundings and adhering to basic safety hints. The role of the community in this regard especially with active neighbourhood watches is essential,” he said.

Captain Knapp said the Muizenberg policing precinct is continuously increasing in population and although hampered by resources, officers were still able to reduce most crime categories.

“The station’s statistics are a reflection of the dedication and hard work by officers. It must, however, be remembered that many of these successes achieved are as a result of partnerships and alliances with various community organisations. These partnerships, in particular those with neighbourhood watchess and security companies, are vitally important in our ongoing endeavours to reduce crime,” said Captain Knapp.