Crime spikes in the CBD

The Cape Town Central police station has been ranked the worst precinct in the country, with 35 208 crimes reported between April last year and the end of March this year.

This is almost double the number of reported cases for the previous period, which was 17 770.

This is according to Crime Stats SA’s analysis of the annual crime statistics which were released by police minister Fikile Mbalula last week.

The city centre also seems to be the worst in the province for theft out of motor vehicles, with the statistics showing an increase from 3 509 last year to 3 770 this year, and theft, which was up from 5 176 this year to 5 496 this year.

There was also a significant increase in contact crimes, particularly robbery, aggravated robbery, sexual offences and assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm.

Murder was up, from 7 to 11. The stats show that robbery is up by 212 incidents – 931 reported cases for the 2015/16 period to 1 143 this year.

Aggravated robbery is up by 18 incidents – from 128 to 146.

The figures do not reflect crime activity over the past six months, as the police only release annual statistics six months after the year in review.

Cape Town Central police station spokesman, Captain Ezra October, said the increase in the number of crimes shows that people are reporting crime.

He said the main concerns in the city centre were robberies and theft out of motor vehicles.

“Robberies have picked up substantially.

“We have been identified by the police commissioner as the area that needs assistance with this.

“Robberies in the city includes pickpocketing, chain snatching and also cellphones being stolen.”

Captain October said late reporting doesn’t help the situation when it comes to robberies and theft out of motor vehicles.

“People usually report days later for insurance purposes. We urge the community to report crime when it happens so we can do our best to apprehend the suspects.”

Break-ins at businesses have shown an increase, from 241 last year to 265 this year, and residential house break-ins from 539 to 686.

Arrests for drug-related crime have also seen a slight increase – from 2 712 arrests last year to 2 796 arrests this year.

Captain October said this is good as it is as a result of police being proactive. “The police have been working around the clock, doing a number of undercover operations in hot spot areas.”

Although sexual offences have decreased, from 56 to 47, Captain October said it was still a concern.

He said the police found that more students have been reporting sex crimes.

“We need more awareness campaigns around this.

“We need to encourage our women to report sex crimes.

“A decrease shows a decrease in reports. We need to support our women and encourage them to come forward.”

The CPF chairman, Marc Truss, said although the crime statistics highlight what crimes are of a high percentage, they are not a true reflection of what is really taking place on the ground.

“One needs to fully understand how the crime stats work, for they can be quite confusing to the public and at times, may be miscalculated.”

He said people need to be more aware of their surroundings.

“Don’t take chances, follow your ‘gut’ instinct and if there is something that is not right, alert your local SAPS station, your armed response company, your Neighbourhood Watch or your SAPS sector manager.

“We need to become more concerned about general activities within our neighbourhood, understand the area within which you live, who is your neighbour, what type of cars do they drive, what days are refuse collections on, schools, old age homes, parks, is there an active neighborhood watch …”

– Additional reporting by Matthew Hirsch