Murder and sexual offences are up in Hout Bay, mirroring the national trend seen in the latest crime statistics.
Police Minister Bheki Cele released the statistics last week. They show all reported crime in the country from April 1 2019 to March 31 2020.
There are increases nationally in murder, rape, assault and robbery.
For the fourth year in a row, rape and other sexual assault cases have risen – 706 more rape cases have been recorded compared to the previous year (from 41 583 to 42 289).
In the Western Cape, there were 4 877 reported rape cases – 4.9% more than last year’s stats.
The country’s murders rose 1.4%, from 21 022 to 21325 cases. In the Western Cape, they dropped by one case, from 3975 to 3974 cases.
Delft has replaced Nyanga as South Africa’s murder capital. Delft’s murder cases rose 7.3%, from 247 to 265 cases, while Nyanga dropped 36%, from 289 to 185 cases, to fifth place.
Six Western Cape precincts – Delft, Khayelitsha, Nyanga, Mfuleni, Harare and Gugulethu – are among the country’s top-10 murder hot spots.
Hout Bay reported two more murders than the 20 it saw in the previous year, and sexual offences rose from 40 to 53 cases. Attempted murders increased from 18 to 22 cases and common robberies from 47 to 55, but armed robberies dropped from 191 to 180 cases.
Contact crimes in general increased from 695 to 795 cases.
Carjacking remained at five, with robbery at residential premises dropping from 51 cases to 27 and robbery at non-residential premises remaining at 12.
Drug-related crime saw the biggest drop, going from 89 cases to 20, with driving under the influence dropping from 59 to 30 and illegal possession of firearms and ammunition dropping from nine to six cases.
Hout Bay Community Police Forum chairman Anthony Chemaly said the drop in cases for non-residential and residential housebreaking, theft out of motor vehicles, and house robberies could be due to the increased number of community improvement districts registered in Hout Bay, but the CPF was concerned about the increase in murders, sexual offences and other contact crimes.
“Public violence, taxi-related murders, alcohol-related contact crimes as well as crimes against women and children will need focus over the next 12 months,” he said.
Hout Bay remained “woefully under resourced”, he said.
“Hout Bay police station is staffed at a level that was set from old census figures that were never realistic to the population of Hout Bay and is also not at full station level with regards to staff. The CPF will continue to apply pressure on provincial and national SAPS structures to recognise the under resourcing issues and provide the level of policing required.”
Ward councillor Roberto Quintas said Hout Bay was still one of the “safest places to live”.
He added: “Our stats are generally better than some of your leafy suburbs out there. We have a great team working on the ground and working for Hout Bay and working towards making it a better and safer place for all to live.”
Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said the ability to deploy resources where needed was key to the province’s efforts to reduce crime, he said.
“Sadly, some of the statistics released are over 12 months old, which impacts negatively on our ability to respond to changes in crime patterns. Under the lockdown, the criminal landscape has changed drastically and therefore the statistics provided are largely unhelpful.
“The number of murders in 2019/20 are the highest in ten years, sitting at 3974 as compared to 2308 in 2010/11. This is a nearly 50% increase in murders over this period,” he said.
Hout Bay police station commander Lieutenant Colonel Khuthala Masakala said: “The station has performed very well in most categories, although there are categories where the figures increased, such as contact crimes like murders, attempted murders and assaults.”
Taxi violence had contributed significantly towards the increase in crime as had robberies, she said.
Hout Bay police would focus more on gender violence and crimes against women and children, she said.