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Stats reveal bleak crime picture

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The statistics show an increase of 3.4 percent in the number of murders committed nationally, with 21 022 murders recorded during 2018/19, an increase of 686 murders from 2017/18’s 20 336

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A BLEAK picture of the occurrence of crime in the Northern Cape has emerged with all contact crimes, except murder, showing an increase during the last year.

Last year, a total of 322 people were murdered in the Province – almost half as a result of “arguments or misunderstandings”, with 80 as a result of domestic violence – while 1 121 people were raped, including 81 males.

A total of 1 700 crimes in the Province were committed against children and 5 467 crimes were against women.

This is according to the latest crime statistics for 2018/19, presented by Police Minister Bheki Cele and National Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole during Parliament’s police portfolio committee yesterday morning.

The statistics for the Northern Cape show that all contact crimes (including sexual offences, attempted murder, assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm, common assault, common robbery and robbery with aggravating circumstances), with the exception of murder, increased from the 2017/18 financial year to the 2018/19 financial year.

While South Africa saw an increase in the national murder rate, the Northern Cape is one of only two provinces in the country where the number of murders decreased, compared to last year.

The statistics show an increase of 3.4 percent in the number of murders committed nationally, with 21 022 murders recorded during 2018/19, an increase of 686 murders from 2017/18’s 20 336.

However, the Northern Cape and the Free State were the only two provinces that showed a decrease, with the number of murders in this Province decreasing by 5.3%, to 322 during 2018/19 from 340 during 2017/18. The Free State showed a decrease of 5.1%.

The major causative factor of murders in the Northern Cape was arguments/misunderstandings (112 cases), followed by domestic violence (80 cases) and armed robberies (eight cases).

Three police murders were reported in the Northern Cape during 2018/19.

Nationally, there was an increase in all contact crimes (murder, sexual offences, attempted murder, assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm, common assault, common robbery and robbery with aggravating circumstances).

In terms of these contact crimes, the Northern Cape also showed an increase in all categories, except murder.

In the Province, sexual offences increased by 2.6%, attempted murder by a whopping 10.8%, common robbery by 9.6% and robbery with aggravating circumstances by 8.6%.

Across South Africa, all sexual offences (rape, sexual assault, attempted sexual offences and contact sexual offences) also increased.

In this regard, there was also an increase across the board in the Northern Cape, with the exception of contact sexual offences, which decreased by 17.5% from 2017/18.

In the Northern Cape, rape increased by 1.95% (nationally 3.9%), with 1 121 rapes reported in the Province during 2018/19, and sexual assault by 4.1% (9.6% nationally), with 255 cases reported locally.

While there was a national decrease in carjackings of 1.8%, the Northern Cape saw an increase of 5.4%, with 39 cases reported.

The Province also saw an increase in the number of robberies at non-residential premises (11%, with 332 cases reported). There was a decrease in the number of robberies at residential premises (down by 1.35% with 157 cases reported).

Truck hijackings increased by 33.3% in the Province.

The total number of contact-related crimes (carjackings, robbery at residential and non-residential premises, cash-in-transit robberies, bank robberies, truck hijackings, arson and malicious damage to property) increased in the Northern Cape by 10.4%.

Property-related crimes (burglaries at non-residential and residential premises, theft of motor vehicles/motorcycles and stock theft) increased by 4.8% in the Province from 2017/18. Nationally, the number decreased by 2.5%.

The total number of crimes detected as a result of police action (illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, drug-related crime, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and sexual offences detected as a result of police action) decreased by 29.6% in the Northern Cape. Nationally, the total number of crimes detected as a result of police action decreased by 21.8%.

The Kimberley police station made the list of the top 30 police stations for “other serious crimes” (with 2 312 cases), “all theft not mentioned elsewhere” (1 667 cases), “theft out of a motor vehicle” (1 000 cases), “burglary at non-residential premises” (366 cases), “property-related crime” (2 095 cases), “arson” (20 cases) and “contact-related crimes” (485 cases).

Galeshewe police station made the list of top 30 police stations with regard to the number of assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm cases reported (676 cases).

Reacting to the statistics yesterday, the DA in the Northern Cape said that it was “alarmed” by the growing spate of sexual offences and violent crime in the Province, especially in the midst of a nationwide outcry against gender-based violence.

“The crime statistics show that all forms of sexual offences in the Province, including rape, which had slowly begun to show a downward trend over the past few years, are exactly back to where they were five years ago. This is very worrying, especially for a province that has one of the highest ratios of sexual crimes to population in the whole country,” DA spokesperson Priscilla Isaacs said.

She stated that the police were “losing the battle”.

“Clearly SAPS is losing the battle. No wonder our communities have lost faith in the police protecting them.”

Isaacs added that another major concern was the seemingly “never-ending” rise in property-related crimes, with a massive increase of over 800 cases for this financial year.

“The increase in residential burglaries is particularly unsettling. Residents feel unsafe in their own homes. At the same time, they are terrified of leaving their homes unattended. It is a no-win situation.

“The writing is on the wall, an overhaul of SAPS cannot be delayed any longer, the ANC government does so at their own peril,” Isaacs concluded.