Stats paint grim crime picture

The Paddocks Shopping Centre has been targeted by armed robbers. Picture: Tracey Adams/ ANA African News Agency

Milnerton and Table View police precincts are ranked among the country’s top-30 worst stations in a “serious crimes” category, according to the latest SAPS crime statistics.

These are crimes like theft, shoplifting and commercial crimes, including fraud, corruption, money laundering and forgery. Milnerton is 19th on the list for shoplifting (with 403 cases, albeit down from 411 the previous year) and 24th for commercial crime (up 5.7%, from 528 cases to 558). Table View is 13th on the list for shoplifting with an increase of 45.3% from 300 to 436 cases. It also makes the top-30 in a category for general theft with 1326 cases reported, up 0.6% from 1318 the previous year.

The stations also saw worrying increases in other crime categories.

In Milnerton, home burglaries went up 2.3% from 666 cases to 681. Thefts from vehicles are up 2.9% from 557 cases to 573. Aggravated assaults were up 27%, from 281 cases to 356.

Milnerton SAPS acting station commander Colonel Andre Els said it was encouraging that contact crimes like murder, attempted murder and robberies had gone down.

Murder has dropped from 55 to 53 cases, attempted murder from 34 to 30 and robbery with aggravating circumstances has dropped 33% from 206 cases to 139.

“The only exceptions in the broader contact crime category were sexual offences (up 10% from 84 to 93 cases) and aggravated assaults (up 27% from 281 to 356 cases). While these remain serious offences worthy of every effort to combat them. It must be borne in mind that many of these offences occur within the home or workplace, where the police cannot carry out direct crime prevention activities such as visible patrols and roadblocks etc,” he said.

Colonel Els said the overall picture should not be seen as an indictment of policing strategies. “Rather it must be seen as a call to arms for communities to increasingly join with us in raising awareness and opposing the evils of gender-based violence.”

The Table View precinct recorded a spike in murders, with 21 compared to last year’s 13. That’s an increase of nearly 62%. Table View’s attempted murder cases went up from 13 to 16, aggravated assaults were up 43% from 85 to 122 cases, common assaults climbed from 393 to 418 cases, common robberies rose 20% from 135 to 162 cases and robberies with aggravating circumstances went up 18%, from 199 to 235 cases.

Sexual assaults increased from 16 to 19 cases, business burglaries were up 39% from 59 to 82 cases, vehicle thefts went up from 109 to 118 cases and thefts from vehicles climbed from 557 to 562 cases.

Table View Neighbourhood Watch spokeswoman Laura Outhet said they took all crime seriously, helped the police by doing foot patrols and “high-visibility” operations and worked with other law-enforcement agencies.

“Because of the rapid growth of the area and the amount of people that now live here we need more community members to act and be part of the solution,” said Ms Outhet.

Police Minister Bheki Cele released the latest crime statistics for the 2018/19 financial year last Thursday. Nationally, there have been increases in many major crimes including murder, attempted murder, rape, assaults and robberies.

In the last six years, murder rates in South Africa have been steadily increasing year on year, from 15 554 murders in 2011/12 to 21 022 in the latest stats – 686 more than the 20 336 murders in the previous year. That’s an increase of 3.4%.

In the Western Cape, murders increased 6.6% from 3729 cases last year to 3974 this year with the top cause being gang-related. The number one ranked precinct, in the country, for murder is Nyanga. Four of the top five murder precincts are in the Western Cape.

Sexual offences across South Africa for 2018/2019 went up 4.6% to 52 420 cases. These include 1 548 rape cases. In the Western Cape, the stats dropped by 0.5%, from 7075 to 7043 cases.

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 hotspot locations. We need our police to be in these hotspots 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.”