2006-09-24 : SURGE OF CRIME

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2006-09-24 : SURGE OF CRIME

Postby GOSA » Tue, 2006-10-03 16:18


Police admit that hijacking, robbery and burglary are soaring across Joburg


The highest increase in armed house robberies was in Booysens, Parkview, Douglasdale, Mondeor and Norwood


JOBURG police have finally admitted at a public meeting that crime has rocketed in 21 precincts.

Addressing about 70 residents at a crime meeting in Bryanston, northern Joburg, on Tuesday night, Director Lettie Hugo said crime had “surged” in the Joburg area, one of seven policing areas in Gauteng.

Hijacking, car theft, cash-in-transit heists, house robbery, business robbery, residential burglary and business burglary increased between January and June in comparison with the same period last year, she said. But she did not give percentage increases or the total number of incidents.

Hijacking hotspots are central Joburg, Booysens, Mondeor, Cleveland and Hillbrow.

Nationally, hijackings have increased by 30%, according to insurance and tracking companies.

Hugo, the station commissioner of the Randburg Police Station, said the precincts that recorded the highest increase in armed house robberies were Booysens, Parkview, Douglasdale, Mondeor and Norwood. Again no figures were given.

The six worst hotspots for house burglaries — when your belongings are looted while you’re away or asleep — are Linden, Booysens, Sandton, Douglasdale, Sophiatown and Norwood.

Dr Gulam Karim, the chairman of the Joburg area community policing forum, which represents the 21 precincts, said crime was becoming more organised and hijackers had moved from northern Joburg to the southern areas of the city.

The Joburg Central Station Commissioner, Director David Botha, said vehicles most hijacked in the precinct — which includes Marshalltown, Joubert Park, Mayfair, Fordsburg and Selby — were white minibus taxis and “bread and butter” sedan cars.

“The taxis are stolen and their parts are refitted onto other taxis. The bodies can easily be resprayed,” said Botha.

About the increase in house robberies and break-ins in Douglasdale, Karim said: “Douglasdale’s got a huge problem with Diepsloot next to them. Flats and townhouses are being broken into.

“Neighbours don’t know each other. Over weekends they see a truck removing the neighbours’ furniture, thinking the neighbours are moving. Meanwhile, they’re ... being cleaned out.”

Norwood community police forum research manager Mari Blomkamp said house robberies were rife in the precinct, which includes Houghton, Waverley and Orange Grove.

Blomkamp said unsuspecting domestic workers often opened gates for gangs of robbers who pretended to be electricians, Telkom technicians or flower delivery people.

Booysens precinct, with six sectors covering 72 suburbs stretching from Nasrec to Tulisa Park, seems to be under siege as it is the only precinct listed as a hotspot in all three categories — house robberies, house burglaries and hijackings.

Karim said Booysens was under-resourced and needed more vehicles and police.

A moratorium on crime statistics prevents the police from releasing data until they are officially released by head office.

The official statistics will only be released in Pretoria next week but will only include figures up to March this year.

The present crime surge will only be reflected in next year’s crime figures — to be released in September 2007.

•According to crime statistics released by police between 2001 and 2005, there were an average of 2600 hijackings, 1500 armed house robberies and 14300 house burglaries in the 21 police precincts in the Joburg area each year.

•This means the Joburg area has accounted for a third of all the hijackings and armed house robberies and a fifth of all house burglaries in the province.

•The annual average for the Gauteng province is 8563 hijackings (23 a day), 5073 armed house robberies (13 a day) and 80116 house burglaries (219 a day).
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