2007-02-25 : Crime rate goes ballistic

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2007-02-25 : Crime rate goes ballistic

Postby GOSA » Tue, 2007-02-27 16:23

http://www.sundaytimes.co.za/PrintEdition/Article.aspx?id=394676

Crime rate goes ballistic

25 February 2007

MOIPONE MALEFANE, HENRIËTTE GELDENHUYS, ISAAC MAHLANGU and PHINDILE CHAUKE

Today Metro publishes crime statistics that paint a grim picture of Gauteng as an increasingly violent place to live — a province riven by crimes motivated by greed and carried out with unreasoning brutality.

These are not dry statistics — they are evidence that our fears are not unfounded. The figures also show that traditional policing methods have not been effective

Crime in Gauteng has spiralled out of control.

Metro has established that, in the midst of a major anti-crime offensive between October and December:

# Armed house robbery increased by 29%;

# Armed business robbery rose by 30%;

# Bank robbery was up by 50%;

# Murder rose by 8.5%; and

# Rape increased by 4.9%.There were successes:

# Arrests for illegal possession of firearms increased by just over 10%;

# Drunk driving arrests increased by 11.2%; and

# Hijacking declined 0.2%.

Gauteng Premier Mbhazima Shilowa admitted at the opening of the provincial legislature that violent crime remained unacceptably high.

He told Metro this week that he had held two meetings with Gauteng Police Commissioner Perumal Naidoo and Community Safety MEC Firoz Cachalia to discuss a “provincial safety plan”.

Shilowa said he had instructed Cachalia to put a system in place to enable him to monitor police stations’ day-to-day activities.

“We have gone beyond the debate about what the statistics say. There is enough evidence that certain crimes have stabilised but violent crime is high and needs to be tackled,” Shilowa said.

Cachalia announced an extension of Operation Iron Fist this week.

“Specific details are not yet available. Some of the elements will include lessons learnt from Operation Iron Fist,” said Cachalia’s spokesman, Thapelo Moiloa.

Shilowa said the plans included rotating roadblocks and creating a new 10111 emergency call centre.

On January 31, Cachalia released the results of Operation Iron Fist. He admitted that “conventional policing methods” employed during the operation “were not having the desired effect”.

His office refused to comment on the crime statistics leaked to Metro. Asked how violent crime would now be tackled, Moiloa said: “The focus now is the need to improve intelligence work and capabilities as well as the deployment of more senior and experienced detectives.”

Jo-Ann Byng, chairman of the Brooklyn community policing forum (CPF), which covers 47km², confirmed a huge rise in violent crime since October last year.

The chairman of the Greater Orlando CPF in Soweto, Teddy Martin, said although house robbery and burglary were prevalent in Soweto, by far most violent attacks occurred when criminals robbed people of cellphones in the street.

Martin said guns from neighbouring countries had great value in Soweto, where there was a brisk trade. “You can hire an AK-47 for R100 to R300,” he said.

Craig Anderson, the chairman of the Douglasdale CPF, which represents 350000 residents, said although burglaries had decreased between October and December in his area, house robberies had increased dramatically.

University of Pretoria criminologist Dr Christiaan Bezuidenhout said there was an influx of criminals from Mozambique and Zimbabwe, and called for tighter border controls.

Norwood CPF chairman Roger Chadwick said although he was “terribly concerned” about the crime statistics obtained by Metro, he was also concerned that the CPF had been refused access to crime statistics since October.

Xolisa Vapi, a First National Bank spokesman, said bank robbers had struck 12 times in Gauteng since January.

“There has been a spike. The frequency of bank robberies is alarming,” he said.
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