AMDIST an influx in crime that is clearly evident in Pietermaritzburg, an alarming concern was raised by the Maritzburg Fever - that many people who witness or are victims of crime don’t always end up reporting or opening a case at their local police stations.
Speaking to members of the public, Maritzburg Fever found out that many residents feel as though opening a case is too much of a time consuming act, whereas some felt that it would not make a difference Some even stated that they were turned away or “put off” by police officers when they attempted to open a case at their local police stations.
“We have work to do and even if we do take time off from our day to go open a case it will not bring back our stolen goods because those things are long gone by now,” said Shabeer Imam, who recently had two truck batteries stolen from his yard in the early hours of a the morning.
Byron Thambu, who had all his appliances ransacked from his house in Copesville a year ago including his Playstation, said that opening a case would not help because in his areas the police station is as small as a house.
Spokesperson for the police Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said that reporting crime was very important and stressed that it is essential that the public report crime on time.
“By the public reporting crime we are given a true reflection of crime in our area and are thus able to ensure our resources are targeted in the right places,” said Ngobese.
He further emphasised that through reporting of crime, they present the facts andadded that statistics help the public realise what type of society we live in.
“No matter what the crime, even if it is a petty theft, it must be reported it.
“By stopping people when it’s a small matter you may prevent it from becoming a bigger problem later,” said Ngobese.
Mountain Rise Police spokesperson Captain Gay Ebrahim said members and resources from the police station are deployed according to their crime threat analysis, and that if crime is not reported then they do not know that crime is happening in a specific area.
“If crime is not reported we cannot know whether crime is being committed in a certain area so then how would we go about policing an area if we are unaware of it?” said Ebrahim.
Pietermaritzburg Central Police Station spokesperson Captain Khosi Khonjelwayo said that reporting crime is important when it comes to police identifying crime patterns in the specific area saying.
“By reporting it may paint a crime pattern in that area when we put that crime together with other reports, and that pattern may fit a modus operandi of a known criminal thought to be working in that area.”
Khonjelwayo added that by not reporting crime, it gives the community a false sense of security in a particular area which may not be true.
“By stopping people when it’s a small matter [crime], you may prevent it from becoming a bigger problem later”