HOLIDAYS: Crime down, arrests up, says Cele

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Festive season crime is down and arrests are up. For the first time, there have been no cash-in-transit heists over the Christmas season and there have been no major bank robberies for six months.

That’s according to Community Safety and Liaison MEC Bheki Cele. During yesterday’s festive season crime report briefing in Durban, he said there have been 11 309 arrests in KZN so far during the festive season. This figure could grow as the SAPS’s holiday operations commenced on November 14 and will end on January 31.

According to Senior Superintendent Phindile Radebe, around 9 000 people were arrested over the same period last year.

“The vast majority of police stations in KZN have shown a decrease in the number of reported cases and this resulted in the province showing substantial decreases in all categories of serious crime when compared to the same period last year,” said Cele.

He attributed the drop in crime to excellent strategies implemented by the SAPS and other agencies as well as the high visibility of police officials at shopping centres and city centres.

He pointed out that the SAPS Equestrian Unit was effective in curbing crime and controlling crowds along the Durban beachfront, while the distribution of name bracelets had helped reunite lost children with their families.

“We need to arrest all parents who lose their kids on the beach. They are careless and shouldn’t be parents,” Cele said.

He said task teams established to deal with specific problems proved effective. Successes included the arrest of two Nigerian women for drug trafficking after the seizure of cocaine and heroin with a street value of R800 000 as well as the speedy arrest of three men after the attempted rape of a woman at the beachfront paddling pool.

Provincial Police Commissioner Hamilton Ngidi said KZN police made significant inroads into ATM bombings. As a result the number of incidents has fallen since Christmas. He said significant arrests have been made with the help of local communities.

In addition, this province has not only been extremely successful in stamping out cash-in-transit heists within its own borders but has also managed to assist Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Eastern Cape, Ngidi said.

Meanwhile, Cele stressed that KZN could not risk having police shot and urged police to “shoot first and shoot hard” when combating crime in this province.

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