2007-07-04 : Crime stats paint a grim picture

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2007-07-04 : Crime stats paint a grim picture

Postby GOSA » Fri, 2007-07-27 16:11


Crime stats paint a grim picture

July 04 2007 at 07:15PM

By Ayanda Mhlongo and Heinz de Boer

South Africa's violent crime statistics paint a grim picture for the
future of the country, and local community police forums say there is no
end in sight.

On Tuesday's much-anticipated crime statistics proved that people in KZN
were more likely than ever to become victims of violent crime, drug
related crimes, or aggravated robbery.

According to police, victims of contact crime, such as rape and assault
and especially murder, were most likely to be attacked by someone they know.

KZN is also at the forefront of the crime statistics, being one of the
three most crime-ridden provinces in the country.

"To get the war won, we must win the war in Gauteng, we must win the war
in KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.

"Whatever we do as an organisation, these three provinces must have an
advantage over other provinces," said National Police Commissioner
Jackie Selebi on Tuesday. Police have vowed to focus their resources in
these provinces.

Among the townships in the country identified as crime hotspots that
need particular attention, is KwaMashu in KwaZulu-Natal. Nyanga in the
Western Cape and Mamelodi and Atteridgeville in Tshwane (Pretoria).

"If we reduce crime there we reduce 62 percent of overall crime in the
country," Selebi said.

KwaMashu and Umlazi ranked as Durban's top murder hotspots, with 254 and
218 cases being reported respectively. These figures are marginally up
from 2006's statistics.

In Durban central, 92 murders were reported, while Hillcrest and
Chatsworth had 39 and 72 murders respectively. There was a massive jump
of about 100 more murders in the Midlands, bringing the total up to 929.

Robbery with aggravating circumstances cases are up by about 500 cases
in the Durban central region, 300 in the Phoenix area, and 100 in the
Durban North region.

Drug-related offences also skyrocketed, with more than 700 new
drug-related crimes being reported in Umlazi and 300 in Chatsworth.

In reaction to the statistics, Durban CPF's said the increase in contact
crime figures was a reflection of the increasingly brazen nature of

They, however, remained largely critical of policing, saying people
continued to live in fear for their lives.

Chairperson of the Umlazi Community Policing Forum, Emmanuel Zama, said
the crimes that were of great concern to the residents of Umlazi were
house robberies, murder and common robbery with aggravated circumstances.

"If the police statistics show an increase in these particular crimes,
then I can say that they are accurate. There are, however, other crimes
that still concern us," he said.

He said that although there are those who believe that crime did not
affect people in townships, the crime rate in townships was very high
and was affecting many people.

Durban North CPF chairperson Ken Parsons said there was a clear trend
that indicated that heightened violent crime could be linked to the
ineffectual Firearms Control Act.

Corruption in the SAPS and the loss of state firearms, which ultimately
end up in the hands of criminals was cause for concern, Parsons said.

"While responsible, law-abiding gun owners are being disarmed by the
state, large numbers of state-owned firearms from the police and defence
force are reported "stolen" or are missing," Parsons said.

Chatsworth and District Against Crime Forum (Cadac) president Dr Paul
Lutchman said that crimes that were "really high" in Chatsworth included
hijackings, armed robberies and burglaries.

"Many people are putting up fences and increasing security around their
homes," he said.

Some communities are so fed up that they have opted for large-scale
protection by private security firms. Among them is the community of
Amanzimtoti, which is being protected by the company of the
controversial security boss, Norman Reeves.

Quinton Rutherford, a founding member of the Community Crime Prevention
Organisation (CCPO) in Amanzimtoti, said certain crimes such as
robberies and car hijackings were a problem, but since the community had
joined hands and engaged the services of a private security company
there had been a significant decrease in crime.

# This article was originally published on page 3 of Daily News on July 04, 2007
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