‘Stats not a real reflection’

Some community police forum (CPF) leaders are sceptical about the latest crime statistics, although the figures show that most crimes across the five police stations in the greater Athlone area, have decreased.

Athlone, Manenberg, Philippi, and Bishop Lavis police stations have shown a drop in murder, attempted murder and armed robbery, among others. And although Lansdowne SAPS reported a 40 percent decrease in attempted murders, with six being reported from April 2015 to March 2016, compared to the 10 cases reported from April 2014 to March 2015, the murder cases doubled from four to eight during that same period.

Manenberg CPF chairman Kader Jacobs said his forum did not have a lot of confidence in the crime statistics.

“There is a perception in the community that they won’t waste their time reporting crimes such as burglaries, because the police are not doing anything about it anyway. So, if one looks at the crime statistics, it must be coupled with the police’s effectiveness.

“There are so many people who just do not report a crime, like when their front gate is stolen, for example. They just have it replaced, and do not report it. The statistics are skewed, and there is a lot of under-reporting of crime. As the CPF, we would rather want to see what the strategy is to substantially bring crime down generally – until we get to a place where you can walk freely in Manenberg, we are not optimistic about the statistics.”

Bishop Lavis CPF chairman Graham Lindhorst, said although he had not had a detailed look at the crime statistics for his precinct, “any activist or CPF member can tell you that the statistics are not accurate.”

The exception, he said, were the murder figures.

He echoed Mr Jacobs’s sentiments, saying: “Many robberies are not reported, and some are only reporting it for insurance purposes. You find that many people, who, for example, were robbed of their cellphones, do not bother to report it, because they don’t want to attend court, etcetera. So the crime statistics are not really a true reflection. The resource allocation guide is used to see how to allocate resources to the various police stations, and some police stations might miss out on the resources they need (because of under-reporting).”

But Lansdowne CPF chairman Rafique Foflonker disagrees. He believes the statistics for his precinct “are largely correct”, as he feels the issue with under-reporting of cases is being addressed.

“In the past, there was the challenge of people not reporting crime. However, this has changed, because the neighbourhood watch has been encouraging victims of crime to report it. In Lansdowne, it seems that the numbers are up, but it is still looking reasonably good. We have no evidence to support under-reporting. I am at the police station almost on a daily basis, and from the activity there, I can tell that many people are reporting crime,” Mr Foflonker said.

Manenberg police spokesman Captain Ian Bennett said the crime statistics might suggest to some that the police were failing the community, but that was not the case. “The policing precinct of Manenberg is affected by the social fibre or the non-existence thereof. Socially, the community has become infected and affected by drugs, gangs and gang violence, because of unemployment, a lack of education, substance abuse, and teenage pregnancies, and this puts added pressure on SAPS and its resources in ensuring the safety of our community,” he said.

He believes young people will steer clear of social ills if they have better opportunities. “Manenberg SAPS has always been committed to serving the community at its different levels, such as crime prevention, investigation of crimes, combating gang activities and even at a spiritual and social level, through social crime intervention programmes, where we assist young people in making better choices.

“Manenberg SAPS and all community organisations should create a platform to strengthen programmes to have a better impact on young people and the community of Manenberg. This will lead to the positive change within the Manenberg policing precinct,” Captain Bennett said.

Both Manenberg and Bishop Lavis police stations are among those where newly qualified police officers have been deployed. On Sunday September 4, provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula announced that more than 1 000 constables had been deployed at police stations with high crime rates. Among those, 30 were posted to Manenberg and more than 20 to Bishop Lavis. It is hoped that more manpower will result in less crime and more arrests.

Philippi police spokesman Lieutenant Lance Goliath said his station’s “biggest commitment” was to create a safer environment and build a stronger relationship with the community.

“Without a relationship with the community, we cannot reach any successes. Fighting crime needs an integrated approach. We have concentrated on high-density patrols and identified hot spot areas. We have also focused on second-hand dealers in the precinct to see if they are in line with what is expected of them,” Lieutenant Goliath said.

Bishop Lavis police spokeswoman Captain Marie Louw said the station had made many arrests for drug and weapon-related crimes with the community’s help.

“We have focussed on gang-related incidents, as most of the murders in our precinct are gang-related. Although we cannot prevent murders, more police visibility means less crime. The new police officers who joined us, might not be sufficient for the challenges we face, but they will definitely make a positive impact,” she said.

Athlone police’s acting visible policing head, Captain Junaid Alcock, echoed his colleagues’ sentiment that the fight against crime depended on the strength of community partnerships with the police.

“Our partnerships with the neighbourhood watches and the CPF play a big role, as well as partnerships with other law enforcement agencies. We have identified problem areas and have stepped up foot patrols and vehicle check points. And these do make an impact. When people withdraw cases because they received their goods back after a robbery, for example, this has a negative impact on crime statistics,” Captain Alcock said.

* A comparison of the crime statistics for the five police stations from April 2014 to March 2015 and from April 2015 to March 2016, shows:

Murder:

Athlone: 22 and 16, (a decrease of 27.3 percent)

Manenberg: 63 and 60 (a decrease of 4.8 percent)

Philippi: 74 and 67 (a decrease of 9.5 percent)

Lansdowne: four and eight ( a 100 percent increase)

Bishop Lavis: 82 and 77 (a decrease of 6.1 percent)

Attempted murder:

Athlone: 67 and 38 (a 43.3 percent decrease)

Manenberg: 161 and 130 (a 19.3 percent decrease)

Philippi: 105 and 99 (a 5.7 percent decrease)

Lansdowne: 10 and six (a 40 percent decrease)

Bishop Lavis: 192 and 122 (a 36.5 percent decrease)

Armed robbery:

Athlone: 411 and 359 (a 12.7 percent decrease)

Manenberg: 303 and 288 (a 5 percent decrease)

Philippi: 265 and 231 (a 12.8 percent decrease)

Lansdowne: 240 and 212 (an 11.7 percent decrease)

Bishop Lavis: 450 and 408 (a 9.3 percent decrease)

Sexual offences:

Athlone: 80 and 64 (a 20 percent decrease)

Manenberg: 89 and 109 (a 22.5 percent increase)

Philippi: 66 and 94 (a 42.4 percent increase)

Lansdowne: 33 and 31 (a 6.1 percent decrease)

Bishop Lavis: 85 and 99 (a 16.5 percent increase)

Assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm:

Athlone: 249 and 217 (a 12.9 percent decrease)

Manenberg: 282 and 275 (a 25 percent decrease)

Philippi: 110 and 102 (a 7.3 percent decrease)

Lansdowne: 63 and 95 (a 50.8 percent increase)

Bishop Lavis: 436 and 431 (a 1.1 percent decrease)

Drug-related crime:

Athlone: 1 227 and 1 377 (a 12.2 percent increase)

Manenberg: 3 191 and 2508 ( a 21.4 percent decrease)

Philippi: 2 067 and 2 030 (a 1.8 percent decrease)

Lansdowne: 284 and 345 (an increase of 21.5 percent)

Bishop Lavis: 2 738 and 2 472 (a 9.7 percent decrease)

Illegal possession of firearms and ammunition:

Athlone: 41 and 50 (a 22 percent increase)

Manenberg: 125 and 144 (an increase of 15.2 percent)

Philippi: 147 and 122 (a decrease of 17 percent)

Lansdowne: 13 and 4 (a 69.2 percent decrease)

Bishop Lavis: 96 and 72 (a 25 percent decrease)

Burglary at non-residential premises:

Athlone: 181 and 195 (a 7.7 percent increase)

Manenberg: 147 and 107 (a 27.2 percent decrease)

Philippi: 179 and 135 ( a24.6 percent decrease)

Lansdowne: 196 and 132 ( a 32.7 percent decrease)

Bishop Lavis: 254 and 155 (a 39 percent decrease)

Burglary at residential premises:

Athlone: 501 and 490 (a 2.2 percent decrease)

Manenberg: 431 and 408 (a 5.3 percent decrease)

Philippi: 262 and 297 (a 13.4 percent increase)

Lansdowne: 494 and 444 (a 10.1 percent decrease)

Bishop Lavis: 436 and 369 (a 15.4 percent decrease)

Theft of motor vehicles and motorcycles:

Athlone: 219 and 219 (no change)

Manenberg: 84 and 106 (a 26.2 percent increase)

Philippi: 72 and 64 (a 11.1 percent decrease)

Lansdowne: 183 and 174 (a 4.9 percent decrease)

Bishop Lavis: 53 and 59 (a 11.3 percent increase)

Theft out of motor vehicle:

Athlone: 781 and 703 (a 10 percent decrease)

Manenberg: 312 and 252 (a 19.2 percent decrease)

Philippi: 486 and 369 (a 24.1 percent decrease) and 369 (a 24.1 percent decrease)

Lansdowne: 491 and 440 (a 10.4 percent decrease)

Bishop Lavis: 809 and 623 (a 23 percent decrease) chairman Kader Jacobs said his forum did not have a lot of confidence in the crime statistics.

“There is a perception in the community that they won’t waste their time reporting crimes such as burglaries, because the police are not doing anything about it anyway. So, if one looks at the crime statistics, it must be coupled with the police’s effectiveness.

“There are so many people who just do not report a crime, like when their front gate is stolen, for example. They just have it replaced, and do not report it. The statistics are skewed, and there is a lot of under-reporting of crime. As the CPF, we would rather want to see what the strategy is to substantially bring crime down generally – until we get to a place where you can walk freely in Manenberg, we are not optimistic about the statistics.”

Bishop Lavis CPF chairman Graham Lindhorst, said although he had not had a detailed look at the crime statistics for his precinct, “any activist or CPF member can tell you that the statistics are not accurate.”

The exception, he said, were the murder figures.

He echoed Mr Jacobs’s sentiments, saying: “Many robberies are not reported, and some are only reporting it for insurance purposes. You find that many people, who, for example, were robbed of their cellphones, do not bother to report it, because they don’t want to attend court, etcetera. So the crime statistics are not really a true reflection. The resource allocation guide is used to see how to allocate resources to the various police stations, and some police stations might miss out on the resources they need (because of under-reporting).”

But Lansdowne CPF chairman Rafique Foflonker disagrees. He believes the statistics for his precinct “are largely correct”, as he feels the issue with under-reporting of cases is being addressed.

“In the past, there was the challenge of people not reporting crime. However this has changed, because the neighbourhood watch has been encouraging victims of crime to report it. In Lansdowne, it seems that the numbers are up, but it is still looking reasonably good. We have no evidence to support under-reporting. I am at the police station almost on a daily basis, and from the activity there, I can tell that many people are reporting crime,” Mr Foflonker said.

Manenberg police spokesman Captain Ian Bennett said the crime statistics might suggest to some that the police were failing the community, but that was not the case. ”The policing precinct of Manenberg is affected by the social fibre or the non existence thereof. Socially, the community has become infected and affected by drugs, gangs and gang violence, because of unemployment, a lack of education, substance abuse, and teenage pregnancies, and this puts added pressure on SAPS and its resources in ensuring the safety of our community,” he said.

He believes young people will steer clear of social ills if they have better opportunities .”Manenberg SAPS has always been committed to serving the community at its different levels, such as crime prevention, investigation of crimes, combating gang activities and even at a spiritual and social level, through social crime intervention programmes, where we assist young people in making better choices.

“Manenberg SAPS and all community organisations should create a platform to strengthen programmes to have a better impact on young people and the community of Manenberg. This will lead to the positive change within the Manenberg policing precinct,” Captain Bennett said.

Both Manenberg and Bishop Lavis police stations are among those where newly qualified police officers have been deployed. On Sunday September 4, provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula announced that more than 1 000 constables had been deployed at police stations with high crime rates. Among those, 30 were posted to Manenberg and more than 20 to Bishop Lavis. It is hoped that more manpower will result in less crime and more arrests.

Philippi police spokesman Lieutenant Lance Goliath said his station’s “biggest commitment” was to create a safer environment and build a stronger relationship with the community.

“Without a relationship with the community, we cannot reach any successes. Fighting crime needs an integrated approach. We have concentrated on high-density patrols and identified hot spot areas. We have also focussed on second-hand dealers in the precinct to see if they are in line with what is expected of them,” Lieutenant Goliath said.

Bishop Lavis police spokeswoman Captain Marie Louw said the station had made many arrests for drug and weapon-related crimes with the community’s help.

“We have focussed on gang-related incidents, as most of the murders in our precinct are gang-related. Although we cannot prevent murders, more police visibility means less crime. The new police officers who joined us, might not be sufficient for the challenges we face, but they will definitely make a positive impact,” she said.

Athlone police’s acting visible policing head, Captain Junaid Alcock, echoed his colleagues’ sentiment that the fight against crime on the strength of community partnerships with the police.

“Our partnerships with the neighbourhood watches and the CPF play a big role, as well as partnerships with other law enforcement agencies. We have identified problem areas and have stepped up foot patrols and vehicle check points. And these do make an impact. When people withdraw cases because they received their goods back after a robbery, for example, this has a negative impact on crime statistics,” Captain Alcock said.

*A comparison of the crime statistics for the five police stations from April 2014 to March 2015 and from April 2015 to March 2016, shows:

Murder:

Athlone: 22 and 16, (a decrease of 27.3 percent)

Manenberg: 63 and 60 (a decrease of 4.8 percent)

Philippi: 74 and 67 (a decrease of 9.5 percent)

Lansdowne: four and eight ( a 100 percent increase)

Bishop Lavis: 82 and 77 (a decrease of 6.1 percent)

Attempted murder:

Athlone: 67 and 38 (a 43.3 percent decrease)

Manenberg: 161 and 130 (a 19.3 percent decrease)

Philippi: 105 and 99 (a 5.7 percent decrease)

Lansdowne: 10 and six (a 40 percent decrease)

Bishop Lavis: 192 and 122 (a 36.5 percent decrease)

Armed robbery:

Athlone: 411 and 359 (a 12.7 percent decrease)

Manenberg: 303 and 288 (a 5 percent decrease)

Philippi: 265 and 231 (a 12.8 percent decrease)

Lansdowne: 240 and 212 (an 11.7 percent decrease)

Bishop Lavis: 450 and 408 (a 9.3 percent decrease)

Sexual offences:

Athlone: 80 and 64 (a 20 percent decrease)

Manenberg: 89 and 109 (a 22.5 percent increase)

Philippi: 66 and 94 (a 42.4 percent increase)

Lansdowne: 33 and 31 (a 6.1 percent decrease)

Bishop Lavis: 85 and 99 (a 16.5 percent increase)

Assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm:

Athlone: 249 and 217 (a 12.9 percent decrease)

Manenberg: 282 and 275 (a 25 percent decrease)

Philippi: 110 and 102 (a 7.3 percent decrease)

Lansdowne: 63 and 95 (a 50.8 percent increase)

Bishop Lavis: 436 and 431 (a 1.1 percent decrease)

Drug-related crime:

Athone: 1 227 and 1 377 (a 12.2 percent increase)

Manenberg: 3 191 and 2508 ( a 21.4 percent decrease)

Philippi: 2 067 and 2 030 (a 1.8 percent decrease)

Lansdowne: 284 and 345 (an increase of 21.5 percent)

Bishop Lavis: 2 738 and 2 472 (a 9.7 percent decrease)

Illegal possession of firearms and ammunition:

Athlone: 41 and 50 (a 22 percent increase)

Manenberg: 125 and 144 (an increase of 15.2 percent)

Philippi: 147 and 122 (a decrease of 17 percent)

Lansdowne: 13 and 4 (a 69.2 percent decrease)

Bishop Lavis: 96 and 72 (a 25 percent decrease)

Burglary at non-residential premises:

Athlone: 181 and 195 (a 7.7 percent increase)

Manenberg: 147 and 107 (a 27.2 percent decrease)

Philippi: 179 and 135 ( a24.6 percent decrease)

Lansdowne: 196 and 132 ( a 32.7 percent decrease)

Bishop Lavis: 254 and 155 (a 39 percent decrease)

Burglary at residential premises:

Athlone: 501 and 490 (a 2.2 percent decrease)

Manenberg: 431 and 408 (a 5.3 percent decrease)

Philippi: 262 and 297 (a 13.4 percent increase)

Lansdowne: 494 and 444 (a 10.1 percent decrease)

Bishop Lavis: 436 and 369 (a 15.4 percent decrease)

Theft of motor vehicles and motorcycles:

Athlone: 219 and 219 (no change)

Manenberg: 84 and 106 (a 26.2 percent increase)

Philippi: 72 and 64 (a 11.1 percent decrease)

Lansdowne: 183 and 174 (a 4.9 percent decrease)

Bishop Lavis: 53 and 59 (a 11.3 percent increase)

Theft out of motor vehicle:

Athlone: 781 and 703 (a 10 percent decrease)

Manenberg: 312 and 252 (a 19.2 percent decrease)

Philippi: 486 and 369 (a 24.1 percent decrease)

Lansdowne: 491 and 440 (a 10.4 percent decrease)

Bishop Lavis: 809 and 623 (a 23 percent decrease)