Concern over latest Amanzimtoti crime stats

This week’s release of the latest crime statistics by the police shows increases in contact crimes, sexual offences and contact-related crimes, something the ward 97 councillor says will only change when more residents get involved in community policing to make a positive difference.

In Amanzimtoti, crimes which decreased this year are property-related crimes, robbery at non-residential premises, hijacks and other serious crime.

“Far be it for us to argue that crime is nationally totally out of hand when even Minister Bheki Cele admits it is the ‘worst ever’,” said Cllr Andre Beetge, who met with Amanzimtoti SAPS station commander, Col Bonginkosi Nkabinde this week to discuss the release of the statistics.

While police collate the crime statistics, Cllr Beetge said one needs to accept it is a reflection of the demise of society as a whole, and that the police are only one link in a chain that comprises the public, police, justice and legislature (government).

READ ALSO: Elderly couple survive Amanzimtoti home invasion

“Not only is the law, as it’s written, not being enforced but by sheer magnitude, the system is unable to process the number of offenders, which in turn results in perpetrators who continue to walk the streets and, in turn create a total disrespect for the law and the order it’s supposed to instill.”

Unemployment is arguably one of the most prominent contributors which not only leads to increased crimes of substance but related drug abuse in an attempted escape from reality which has a knock-on effect concerning violent crimes – which creates a vicious circle.

Cllr Beetge believes even if the police quadrupled their patrols, it would more than likely have no or little effect on murders, sexual offences, assault, rape or commercial crime.

“In scrutinising local statistics, there appears a downward trajectory in crimes where visibility can and has, albeit marginally, made a difference. The lowest figures over a 10-year period were recorded for burglary at residential premises, theft out or from motor vehicles, stock theft and carjacking, with a steep increase in arrests made for sexual offences detected as a result of police action (the ever-increasing prostitute problem comes to mind).

READ ALSO: Armed robber attacks pedestrian in Kingsway

Offences that could certainly justify additional attention would be burglary at non-residential premises, theft of motor vehicles and motorcycles, drug-related crime and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”

However, Cllr Beetge believes that would not be a task to fall entirely on the shoulders of the police, as statistics will show that business owners are reluctant to upgrade security, vehicles are still parked or left at compromising locations with no or ineffective security systems, and racing or swerving across roads while under the influence remains a later topic of humour instead of the reality of its danger to the driver, passengers and other road users, and drug use for recreational purposes has become an accepted norm of society.

“Never has there been, nor will there ever be sufficient police officers to protect and serve – a responsibility rests on the people too, to participate and contribute to our own and our neighbourhoods’ safety as part of a collective defence.

It is against this background and the alarming national statistics, that we again call on our town to become involved by joining the local neighbourhood watch, attend crime prevention forums, subscribe to additional protection and by insisting the community policing forum (CPF) be depoliticised and its management handed back to the people, so that our voice can be heard, as we work alongside the SAPS towards a safer society for all,” said Cllr Beetge.

2018 crime statistics for Amanzimtoti

Contact crimes (crimes against a person)

Murder – 16 compared to 17 last year; -5.9%
Sexual offences – 49 compared to 35 last year; +40%
Attempted murder – 23 compared to 18 last year; +27.8%
Assault with the intent to inflict GHB – 92 compared to 82 last year; +12.2%
Common assault – 134 compared to 117 last year; +14.5%
Common robbery – 59 compared to 36 last year; +63.9%
Robbery with aggravating circumstances – 182 compared to 186 last year; -2.2%
Total – 555 compared to 491 last year; +13%

Sexual offences

Rape – 35 compared to 24 last year; +45.8%
Sexual assault – 10 compared to 10 last year; 0%
Attempted sexual offences – 2 compared to 1 last year; +100%
Contact sexual offences – 2 compared to 0 last year; +200%Total – 49 compared to 35 last year; +40%

Subcategories of aggravated robbery

Carjacking – 32 compared to 42 last year; -23.8%
Robbery at residential premises – 48 compared to 33 last year; +45.5%
Robbery at non-residential premises – 20 compared to 21 last year; -4.8%

Contact-related crimes

Arson – 3 compared to 5 last year; -40%
Malicious damage to property – 145 compared to 126 last year; +15.1%
Total – 148 compared to 131 last year; +13%

Property-related crimes

Burglary at non-residential premises – 102 compared to 95 last year; +7.4%
Burglary at residential premises – 526 compared to 533 last year; -1.3%
Theft of motor vehicle and motorcycle – 238 compared to 215 last year; +10.7%
Theft out of or from motor vehicle – 141 compared to 190 last year; -25.8%
Stock-theft – 1 compared to 8 last year; -87.5%
Total – 1,008 compared to 1,041 last year; -3.2%

Other serious crime

All theft not mentioned elsewhere – 452 compared to 461 last year; -2%
Commercial crime – 257 compared to 260 last year; -1.2%
Shoplifting – 198 compared to 227 last year; -12.8%
Total – 907 compared to 948 last year; -4.3%
Total of community reported serious crimes – 2,618 compared to 2,611 last year; +0.3%

Crime detected as a result of police action

Illegal possession of firearms and ammunition – 25 compared to 19 last year; +31.6%
Drug-related crime – 368 compared to 310 last year; +18.7%
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs – 245 compared to 165 last year; +48.5%
Sexual offences detected as a result of police action – 30 compared to 3 last year; +900%
Total – 668 compared to 497 last year; +34.4%

 

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  AUTHOR
Earl Baillache
Journalist

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