Stats shows crime is still on the rise

Minister of Police Bheki Cele and his department released crime stats before parliament last Thursday. The Western Cape is still on the rise when it comes to crime.

If the figures in the latest crime statistics overview are anything to go by, Nyanga, Gugulethu, Philippi East, Harare and Mfuleni can be considered as being among the most dangerous places in the country.

The annual statistics for 2018/2019, which spans the period from April last year to March this year, were released by the South African Police Service last Thursday.

Nyanga, Gugulethu, Philippi East, Harare and Mfuleni police stations are among the top 30 stations in the country that recorded the most murder cases.

The stats also paint a bleak picture for the province as it has the second highest murder rate in the country.

It showed the country had
21 022 murders for the 2018/2019 financial year, 686 more than the previous year – an increase of 3.4%. In the Western Cape, murders increased 6.6% from 3 729 cases last year to 3 974 this year with the top cause being gang-related.

Sexual offences across South Africa for 2018/2019 went up 4.6% to 52 420 cases, but in the Western Cape they dropped by 0.5%, from 7 075 to 7 043 cases.

Nyanga police station has retained its top position as the murder capital in the country. However, it has seen a slight decrease for murder as it recorded 289 murder cases – 19 fewer than the previous year. For sexual offences, the station recorded 294 cases, 14 fewer than the previous year.

The station also recorded 164 attempted murder cases, eight fewer than the previous year.

At Philippi police station, they recorded 86 murder cases this year compared to 87 recorded last year. For sexual offences, the station recorded 65 cases, down 23 from the previous year. But attempted murder cases saw a huge increase as the station recorded 118 this year compared to 76 recorded last year.

At Khayelitsha station, 221 murder cases were reported compared to 192 cases recorded last year. For sexual offences 149 cases were reported, down 37 from the previous year.

For attempted murder 153 cases were recorded, down 28 from the previous year. But for burglary at residential premises 398 cases were reported compared to 364 cases last year.

For illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, the station recorded 125 cases compared to 107 cases last year.

Khayelitsha Development Forum chairperson, Ndithini Tyhido, said Khayelitsha needed more police officers.

Harare police station recorded 166 murder cases compared to 142 last year. For sexual offences the station recorded 187, five fewer than the previous year.

For theft of motor vehicle and motor bicycle, the station recorded 255 cases compared to 127 cases last year.

Gugulethu station recorded 155 murder cases this year, 27 fewer than the previous year while for attempted murder they recorded 195 – 28 fewer than the previous year.

However, for common assault they recorded 470 cases compared with 404 cases reported last year.

For rape they recorded 134 cases – 32 fewer than the previous year – while for carjacking 153 cases were reported compared with 101 last year. For theft of motor vehicle and motorcycle, they recorded 88 cases compared to 87 last year. For illegal possession of firearms and ammunition 91 cases were recorded compared with 89 last year.

Gugulethu Community Policing Forum chairperson, Sonwabile Magida, said the instability in the province with regards to the provincial police commissioner position was also to blame for the high rate of crime in the province.

He said the failure of police officers to listen to community suggestions about how they should be policed was one of the challenges. He said another critical failure was not equipping neighbourhood watches with adequate resources. “We will sit down with the station to assess a way forward. We don’t see the impact of the soldiers. We were never consulted so that we could inform them about the areas that they should target,” he said.

Mfuleni police station recorded 154 murder cases, down three from the previous year, while for sexual offences 244 cases were recorded compared with 167 cases last year. For rape the station recorded 182 cases compared with 126 last year.

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.”

Western Cape 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.”