Crime in numbers

Murders, sex offences and home robberies have shot up in Hout Bay.

This is according to the latest national crime statistics. Released by Police Minister Bheki Cele last Thursday, they are a record of reported crimes over the past fiscal year.

They show the country had 21 022 murders from the beginning of April in 2018 to the end of March in 2019 – 686 more than the previous year – an increase of 3.4%.

In the Western Cape, murders increased by 6.6% from 3 729 cases last year to 3 974 this year, with the top cause being gang-related

The Hout Bay police station recorded 20 murders – five more than the previous year. They also recorded 40 attempted murders – four more than last year.

The sexual-offences category rose by 11%, from 36 to 40 cases. The category includes rape, which increased from 30 to 33 cases.

Sexual offences across South Africa for 2018/2019 went up 4.6% to 52 420 cases, but in the Western Cape they showed a slight drop of 0.5%, from 7075 to 7043 cases.

Robbery with aggravating circumstances in Hout Bay climbed 11.7%, from 171 to 191 cases. The category includes home robberies, which rose 50% from 34 to 51 cases, and business robberies, which stayed at 12 cases. Carjackings increased from three to five cases.

Cases of assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm rose 9.7%, from 154 to 169 cases. Common robbery went up 11.7%, from 171 to 191 cases.

Commercial crimes went up by 51.4%, from 68 cases to 103.

Drug-related crimes fell 49.4%, from 176 to 89 cases.

Home burglaries remained high, despite dropping to 276 from 303 cases. Business burglaries fell from 67 to 39 cases.

Vehicle theft rose from 24 to 26 cases, while theft from vehicles fell sharply from 234 to 182 cases.

Hout Bay Community Police Forum chairman, Anthony Chemaly, said they were happy with the current stats. He felt crime in Hout Bay had, on the whole, been kept to a minimum.

“All role-players must be thanked for this effort,” he said.
Murders and hijackings were mostly related to the taxi violence in the area, he said.

He said the extensive roll-out of CCTV cameras in the area could be behind the drop in theft-out-of-vehicle cases.

“We definitely want to focus on reducing murders, robberies as well as sexual offences, going forward, but that is very difficult,” he said.

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.”

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.”

The Hout Bay police station did not respond to requests for comment by the time this edition went to print.