There is good progress against crime

2019-11-26 06:00

A small, but vocal group of residents paint a bleak, dystopian picture of crime in Green Point/Sea Point.

According to this group, residents are in constant fear for their safety and well-being.

They rail against those that take a more measured view of the situation, and have called them “socialists”, “Marxists” and “ANC-lovers” (whatever that means!).

A member of this group has even used a fake Facebook profile to engage with unsuspecting Atlantic Seaboard residents.

Is their view of crime on the Atlantic Seaboard correct?

How bad is crime in Green Point and Sea Point?

In early September minister Bheki Cele released the latest crime statistics for South Africa, so we can look to those for answers to these questions. Total crime in Green Point/Sea Point is at a 10-year low, with 3 404 incidents reported, down 28.7% from the 4 857 incidents reported in 2011.

In 15 of the 31 separate categories of crime Green Point/Sea Point incidents reported are at or close to a 10-year low. And in all but three categories (common robbery, carjacking, and robbery at non-residential premises) crime is below the 10-year average.

Further, the overall rate of violent crimes (murder, attempted murder, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, rape, sexual offences, and attempted sexual offences) is low when compared with the national per-capita averages.

Other serious crimes (carjacking, robbery with aggravating circumstances, and burglary at non-residential premises) are below or close to the national average.

There are a couple of areas where Green Point/Sea Point clearly has problems: common assault, common robbery, malicious damage to property, burglary at residential places, contact sexual offences and shoplifting are running at two to three times the national average, while theft of motor vehicles (TOMV) is nearly six times and theft out of motor vehicle (TOOMV) is nearly 21 times the national average. Clearly, these are areas that residents need to focus on.

Green Point/Sea Point also compares favourably to Camps Bay (Clifton, Camps Bay and Bakoven) and Hout Bay. Green Point/Sea Point is the lowest in five out of nine contact crime categories, without being highest in the other four categories.

Green Point/Sea Point is also lowest in four out of six aggravated robbery sub-categories.

Theft of motor vehicle and theft out of motor vehicle rates are significantly higher in Green Point/Sea Point than in the other two Atlantic Seaboard communities, probably because fewer residents have off-street parking.

Green Point/Sea Point is highest in all categories of crimes detected as a result of police action. This is probably as a result of the police in our area conducting more searches at roadblocks and other stops.

International comparisons are a bit more difficult because crimes may be categorised differently in other countries. The data does, however, suggest that the murder rate in Green Point/Sea Point is similar to Chicago, and that our aggravated assault rate appears to be lower than New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago.

The robbery rate appears to be comparable to Chicago (and lower than London) burglary is on par with Detroit and theft of motor vehicles is comparable to Los Angeles and nearly half the rate in Detroit.

While crime clearly is a challenge, the figures do not support the grim picture that the alarmists paint.

The progress that has been made over the past eight years is likely as a result of the combined efforts of Sea Point police leadership, the Sea Point CID, and community organisations such as the neighbourhood watch and the ratepayers’ associations.

Let’s recognise the success of their efforts and continue to focus on meaningful action that can further reduce crime in our area, especially in the areas that the numbers shown are a problem.

Peter Flentov Green Point
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