Crime stats paints alarming picture

2015-10-06 06:00

THE Upper Highway community waited in anticipation for police minister Nathi Nhleko’s release of crime statistics on Tuesday, yet many were left disappointed at the overall increase of murders, robberies, carjacking and burglaries.

In Hillcrest, murder cases went up from 34 to 37. Robbery at residential premises rose from 47 to 85, but carjackings stayed the same at 16.

Steven King, of the Hillcrest CPF, said: “Although the crime stats are an absolute shocker I must admit it doesn’t surprise. Our precinct has seen a rise in just about all categories of crime. We can add about another 30% to 50 % to crimes such as residential burglaries, common assault, drug crimes, theft not mentioned elsewhere, so there is definitely a huge discrepancy in neglect and the ill treatment of children as well as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs,” said King.

“I have personally seen where crimes were not categorised correctly by the members when taking statements and had to ask for it to be reviewed. Our station is losing the fight against crime and the community is demoralised and therefore many crimes are not reported.”

King said that the Hillcrest station has seen many station commissioners in a short period of time so therefore the area has no stability.

“The other major challenge is that there is a lack of discipline and self-respect among our members and the will to prevent and fight crime is lacking.

“We lack the expertise in our precinct to be able to combat crime effectively and those who are really trying their best to protect our community are lacking the support,” he said.

“We also need tougher sentences to be imposed and repeat offenders should not be given bail.

“We have many well-known criminals in our area who get arrested and released or when they do appear in court the dockets are not prepared correctly. Our justice system is failing us and I’m afraid if SAPS and the courts don’t start getting it right we will be seeing a rise in vigilantism and communities taking the law into their own hands.”

King said that the CPF thanks all neighbourhood structures and patrollers for their dedication and hard work in keeping the crime down in their neighbourhoods.

“If it wasnand#039;t for them the crime stats would be much higher. I urge the public to please join your local watch and to report all crimes.

“We need to be upgraded to a brigadier station with more resources, but if people donand#039;t report crimes this will not happen.

“South Africans need to ask for the re-introduction of the death sentence for serious and violent crimes and police murders,” said King.

Ward 10 councillor Rick Crouch said: “With our experience in dealing with Hillcrest Police Station I do not think anyone is surprised at the stats for the jurisdiction covered by Hillcrest SAPS.

“Possibly the only surprise might be that they are so low considering all the complaints I receive and my personal experiences with Hillcrest SAPS.

“It has to be one of the most dysfunctional police stations in KZN, if not the country.”

“Those stats do not reflect the number of cases where officers at Hillcrest SAPS have refused to open cases or where the suspect went missing during the drive from the crime scene to the station.

“They also do not reflect the number of crimes that people from Hillcrest have reported at Kloof because of the lack of service from Hillcrest.”

Crouch said that the crime stats should be released to the media by each police station on at least a weekly basis, that way people can manage their security needs.

“Releasing ‘massaged’ crime stats once a year helps no one. So no, I have absolutely no faith in the crime stats for the Upper Highway area.”

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