In the wake of countrywide protests against gender-based violence earlier this month, the release of the annual national crime statistics last week revealed an increase in murder, attempted murder, rape, sexual offences and sexual assault at various far south police precincts.
Sexual offences across South Africa for 2018/2019 went up
4.6% from 50108 to 52420 cases, but in the Western Cape it dropped by 0.5%, from 7 075 to
7 043 cases while murders increased 6.6% from 3 729 cases to 3 974 this year with the top cause being gang-related.
The statistics,released on Thursday, record reported crime from the beginning of April last year to the end of March this year.
Murders in Muizenberg increased from 31 to 51 cases, attempted murders from 50 to 56, rapes from 36 to 47, sexual assaults from 13 to 25, sexual offences from 50 to 78 and drug-related crimes from 742 to 813.
Burglaries at homes dropped from 437 to 344 cases.
In Ocean View,murders increased from 29 to 30 cases, attempted murders dropped from 40 to 39 cases, rapes increased from 26 to 29, sexual assaults dropped from 10 to six, sexual offences increased from 39 to 42 and drug-related crimes dropped from 552 cases to 296.
Burglaries at homes increased from 239 to 246 cases.
Fish Hoek police precinct saw both murders and attempted murders drop from four to zero cases.
Sexual offences dropped from 16 to seven cases, rape dropped from seven to five and sexual assault from six to two. Drug-related crime detected by police action increased from 95 to 103 cases. Commercial crime increased 23% from 126 to 155 cases, and shoplifting was up 26.5% from 83 to 105 cases. Burglaries at homes dropped from 487 cases to 341.
In Simon’s Town attempted murders increased from two cases to five, sexual assault increased from one case to two and drug-related cases increased from 21 cases to 34. Burglaries at homes increased from 178 cases to 292.
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 hot spot locations. We need our police to be in these hot spots 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.”
Muizenberg police spokesman, Captain Stephen Knapp, blamed ongoing Cape Flats gang violence for the increase in the precinct’s murder and attempted-murder statistics. He said recent arrests had subdued some gang activities.
Simon’s Town Community Police Forum chairperson Eileen Heywood said increased neighbourhood watch activity, more resident-sponsored security patrols and communication with SAPS had helped to keep crime in check in the area.
Fish Hoek Community Police Forum (CPF) chairman Andre Blom said the statistics only revealed reported crimes and the rosier view painted by lower crime statistics was not always accurate. Some of the reasons people didn’t report crime, he said, were because they feared victimisation or they didn’t trust the police or the judicial system. The artificially low crime stats that resulted meant SAPS wouldn’t deploy extra resources to the area, he said.
“ All crimes no matter how small must be reported,” he said.
Both Ms Heywood and Mr Blom commended the neighbourhood watches, CPFs, security companies, law enforcement, SAPS, Metro police and traffic police for helping to combat crime.
Ocean View police spokesman, Sergeant Leon Fortuin, said the station had gone to great lengths to restore the relationship between the community and the police, and people now came forward more freely to open cases of rape and sexual assault.