Violent crime ‘is personal’

2015-10-06 06:00

The City Bowl has experienced an increase in violent crime, according to the latest police statistics released last week.

Murder cases have increased by seven incidents to a total of 12 during the last year until March. Cases of attempted murder have also increased to 13 incidents and 14 carjackings were reported, compared to zero the previous year.

The increase in the number of murders and attempted murders is a concern, says Cape Town Central Community Police Forum (CPF) chairperson Nicola Jowell.

“However, I do not think it is an area that should necessarily alarm the general population. These are not as a result of carjackings or house robberies, but rather personal conflict, or interaction with a suspect who was known to the victim.”

Cape Town Central police spokesperson Ezra October says the increase in carjackings is linked to victims being surprised by criminals.

“Suspects are intimidating and usually use firearms to subdue the victim,” he says.

The large increase in carjackings is inevitable given that the year before there were zero cases, Jowell says.

“But 14 is still above the long-term average and a further indication that the types of crime in our precinct are becoming more personal and violent. We are seeing the trend of carjackings continue into this financial year and we anticipate that it will again show an increase for this period,” she says.

However, cases of property crime have seen a drop, with house robberies down 14% to 700 cases. This is due to neighbourhood watch activity and the licence plate recognition camera network, October says.

To see that burglaries at residential and business premises are down, is extremely reassuring, Jowell says.

“However, when you look at the numbers we can understand why our communities are alarmed. For 700 homes to be broken into is deeply distressing; that is a high number,” she says.

The police plan to boost crime prevention and undercover operations, October says, and are swelling the station’s numbers by appointing 35 recruits as well as encouraging community members to join their local neighbourhood structures.

Jowell says: “The police are continuing to actively plan and implement interventions based on the crime trends. It is imperative that the many different roleplayers in the city are harnessed to work alongside the police, such as city improvement districts, neighbourhood watches, City law enforcement agencies and armed response companies. We have seen the great successes that have happened when these groups are working together in partnership.”

. Sea Point police also reported an increase in violent crime with 16 sexual offences and an increase in attempted murder by three cases. Assault cases jumped by eight to a total of 26 reported cases.

Property crime saw a drop, with house burglaries down by 13% to 327 cases.

Sea Point police station commander Colonel Maehla Lento says the station has “made a great effort right through the year to ensure that we reduce crime as much as we could”.

“The good co-operation with the community and other law-based agencies has assisted a great deal in ensuring that our priority crimes are reduced, which are housebreaking, theft out of cars and theft of cars,” he says.

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