The official crime statistics were released by the minister of police, Bheki Cele, on Thursday 12 September, and residents have had their chance to share their opinions.
Fish Hoek policing precinct saw the largest reduction in crime, in the Deep South, during the 2018/2019 period.
Steven Watkins, a resident of Fish Hoek for over four years, said he does personally feel safe in the community despite falling victim to crime.
“The crime is there, but this is one of the safest towns in South Africa and you can feel it. I have been robbed in Fish Hoek before but that was at about 05:30, coming to the train station.”
He believes the credit for the community’s safety doesn’t rely solely on the work of the police as “the residents create kind of a brother effect, because you have the old ladies looking out of their windows and keeping an eye on things,” he said.
Another resident who has lived in Fish Hoek for more than 55 years said: “I love it. I don’t want to go anywhere else. We’ve been burgled twice, and that was quite a while back. I’ve been living in my house for 50 years and I have no complaints. I appreciate whatever the police are doing, even though I don’t always know what they get up to.”
Ocean View policing precinct was able to decrease contact crimes, which includes common robbery and murder, by 7%.
Lynette Arendse of Ocean View was in disbelief. “A 7% decrease? With all the deaths that happen in the area? I can’t believe it,” she said.
“Every day you hear there’s someone killed. The police are scared of the people. When someone gets killed and they call the police, the police take their time. They are so slow and it seems to me they don’t want to get involved.”
Watkins seconded her opinion. He said: “The criminal element, to be honest, is coming out of Ocean View and Masiphumelele – that area is still a warzone, but Fish Hoek is a safe town and you can feel it.”
Arendse feels the only way to decrease crime is for the police to be more active. “They must get involved in the community and they must respond,” she said.
Thomas Nel from Clovelly noted that he has also fallen victim to crime, but is generally pleased regarding the safety of his area.
“In the past, between Clovelly and Kalk Bay, I was mugged of my cellphone, and then close to Masiphumelele – those are the two places I’ve been mugged; but that was four years ago.
“I haven’t heard too many stories or anything big happening in Clovelly. We have a one-way entrance and one-way exit, and our neighbourhood watch does a good job to keep us safe,” he said.