KZN crime mirrors SA’s decline

2012-09-21 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL’S crime rate has closely mirrored national trends in the past year, with a marked decline in six of the seven categories of serious crimes.

According to statistics released yesterday by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa, murders in KZN declined by 8,7% to 3 422 from 3 749 last year.

The province, however, still has the highest murder rate in the country, with nearly a quarter (22%) of all murders.

Umlazi and kwaMashu have the highest murder rates respectively in KZN, followed by Plessislaer in Pietermaritzburg.

KZN also has the second-highest incidence of sexual crimes, after Gauteng. But these, along with attempted murder, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, common assault and robbery with aggravating circumstances, showed declines of between 0,8% and 6,3%.

However, there were increases in home burglaries and theft from vehicles. A total of 10 106 cars and motor­cycles were stolen, a decrease of 481 from last year.

Similarly, car-jacking declined by 390 incidents to 2 619 in the last year.

In contrast, there was a 13,3% increase in drug-related crime and a 21,7% increase in incidents of driving under the influence.

The most dangerous area in Pietermaritzburg over the past year was Plessislaer, where 91 people were killed, followed by Mountain Rise with 49.

The Plessislaer area also recorded the most sex crimes, attempted murders, and incidents of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and common assault.

In the past year, you were most likely to be a victim of robbery in the Pietermaritzburg CBD, followed by Plessislaer and Mountain Rise.

Mountain Rise was also a car-jacking hotspot, with 21 incidents, despite a 53% decrease from the previous year.

Mountain Rise community policing forum chairperson Pete Jugmohan urged residents to engage with their local forums. “Our function is to create a space for community members to engage with the police … If you are unhappy with the service you are receiving from the police, engage with the area CPF and bring your views to light,” Jugmohan said.

Pietermaritzburg Central community policing forum chairperson Claire Crawley said she was concerned despite the general decline in violent crimes.

She said the reporting of all crimes, no matter how small, was important to help give a holistic picture of the crime situation.

Plessislaer ward councillor Pat Jaca said he was pleased that the number of murders was lower than the previous year, attributing this to an improved working relationship between the police and the community.

Deputy chairperson of the CPF in the Pietermarizburg area, Simphiwe Gwala, said he was worried about crime and young people.

On the South Coast, Margate, Umkomaas, Hibberdene and Port Shepstone recorded a record number of particularly nasty robberies.

There were 172 in Margate, 221 in Umkomaas, 148 in Hibberdene and 210 in Port Shepstone.

Burglaries at businesses also increased and more vehicles (288) were stolen in Amanzimtoti than the rest of the South Coast (264) in 2011/12.

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