Criminals target households

2014-09-25 00:00

HOMES are under attack with crimes against residential properties having soared by as much as 2 000% in some cases.

The massive increases — which have been lambasted by critics claiming the statistics released for the 186 provincial police stations are fatally flawed — are likely to be central to a press conference being called by the provincial police commissioner Mmamonnye Ngobeni next week.

And statisticians have suggested that the discrepancies found in the data should be “red flagged” and the statistics immediately revisited.

But if the statistics are read on face value, Durban’s most dangerous place to live in is the Point with increases in a series of contact crimes including burglary and robbery.

But even the Point SAPS figures are massively questionable. For instance the urban area, home to several multi-storey residential apartment blocks and shopping centres including China Mall, uShaka Marine World and the multi-billion Rand Point Waterfront Development, reported 51 cases of animal stock theft. Crimes such as burglary rocketed from just 71 cases in 2012/13 to 1 068 a year later.

The Witness, breaking down property-related crimes to a rate for every 1 000 households found that in the middle income segment in the Midlands, Howick rated highest in household burglary, robbery and vehicle theft. It was followed by Pietermaritzburg, Mooi River and Richmond, then Plessislaer and Mountain Rise.

Residents in Durban’s Berea, Greenwood Park, Westville and Durban North were more likely to be victims of crimes at their homes than residents in Cato Manor or Umbilo. All areas compared had more than 5 200 households based within the police precinct.

But security think tank Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has refused to place any of KZN’s or Limpopo’s precinct crime statistics on its website because of “extensive errors discovered”.

SA Statistical Association journal managing editor Dr ­Leonard Santana said deviations from any trend should be reinvestigated.

“It needs to be ascertained whether it was right or wrong and what could lead to the trend difference. For instance previous results may all be wrong. The method of collecting the data should certainly be investigated,” said Santana.

When asked about the alleged discrepancies, police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said, “No comment, the commissioner will be addressing the media next week.”

He said no date had yet been confirmed.

Meanwhile, Bobby Hoole who represents agricultural land owners in the Howick region, said property theft was one of the biggest threats to the agricultural economy and needed urgent intervention.

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