Crime stats reflect increase in violent crimes

About 200 people marched to the Athlone police station, demanding better policing and an end to crime.

The Bishop Lavis police precinct have recorded the third-highest increase in murder and the highest number of attempted murders in the country.

This is according to the latest national crime statistics released last Thursday.

The stats 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.

The Bishop Lavis precinct, which includes Bonteheuwel, was ranked 14th among the top-30 stations in the country for murder.

It recorded 144 murders – 46 more than the previous year. It is the third-highest numerical increase in the crime countrywide.

The precinct recorded 251 attempted murders – 95 more than the previous year and an increase of 60.9%

Meanwhile, Athlone police station’s murder rate more than doubled, from 14 last year to 37 this year – a 150% increase. Attempted murder climbed 61.5% from 39 to 63 cases. Sexual offences went up 23.2%, from 56 to 69 cases.

Attempted murders went up 55.3% in the Philippi police precinct – from 76 to 118. 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 7075 to 7043 cases.

Manenberg police station recorded 44 sexual offences last year and 45 this year. Bishop Lavis police station had 41 cases, up from 28 last year. Sexual offences in the Athlone precinct increased from 26 cases last year to 34 this year.

Crimes against women and children in the Western Cape decreased 0.4% from 46 263 in April last year to 46 092 in March this year.

Contact crimes in the province including arson and malicious damage to property increased from 28 763 last year to 29 356 this year.

Bishop Lavis police station recorded 732 cases last year and 777 cases this year. Manenberg police station’s number increased from 512 last year to 560 this year.

Malicious damage to property increased from 28 001 cases last year to 28 514 this year.

Bishop Lavis police station recorded 720 cases last year and this year 761. At Manenberg police station, 502 cases were reported last year and that increased to 549 this year.

Bishop Lavis SAPS also recorded an increase in vehicle theft, from 636 cases last year to 763 cases this year.

Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said it was concerning that 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.”

Hanover Park Community Police Forum (CPF) chairwoman Kashiefa Mohammed blamed the high murder and attempted-murder rates on relentless gang strife. The community needed better policing, she said.

“We want peace and unity in Hanover Park. This gang violence is out of hand. We need arrests of gang leaders so that the numbers can decrease.”

Manenberg Community Safety Forum chairwoman Roegchanda Pascoe said young people were being pulled into prostitution because they wanted to feel wanted and accepted.

Many did not report sexual assault as they feared secondary victimisation, she said.

“Most of our neighbourhood watches and CPFs are non-functional, and they must admit that the fight against gangsterism is above them. Gang lords are seen as heroes and children are joining at younger ages. That life is all that they know so can we blame them? Our people need a holistic change starting in their homes,” she said.

Bishop Lavis CPF chairman Graham Lindhorst, said he was unhappy with the stats, but he believed the murder rate in the precinct had decreased since June, outside the period under review.

“As a community, we have been working hard to keep crime at a low level by using our open spaces and doing patrols regularly. On a weekend we stand on corners and prevent the selling of drugs.”