Eight out of 10 serious crime categories have risen alarmingly in the Western Cape, prompting MEC for Community Safety Dan Plato to call for an explanation from Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and provincial police commissioner Arno Lamoer.
Mthethwa and national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega released the national statistics in Pretoria yesterday, saying nationally crime statistics had trended down over a period of nine years, though many serious crimes had spiked over the past year.
Alarming figures in the Western Cape showed rates going up in the following crucial categories:
l Murder up by 12.2 percent in the past year.
l Attempted murder up by 40.9 percent.
l Home robberies up by 22.5 percent.
Plato said police had failed to address serious crimes in the province. He will call on the local police leadership to explain what remedies can be put in place.
Murders have decreased consistently on a national level in the past five years, but in the Western Cape figures have increased steadily.
In the Western Cape attempted murder rose from 2 328 in 2011/12 to 3 280 in 2012/13. Cash-in-transit robberies more than doubled, while home robberies jumped by 22.5 percent, with 5 000 more cases in the past year. Robberies at businesses increased by 23.4 percent.
Plato zoned in on the Western Cape’s crime statistics, saying the increases were cause for concern and were “simply unacceptable”.
But while serious crimes are increasing in the Western Cape, the numbers are much lower when compared to the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal. There has also been a 4.1 percent decrease in sexual crimes to 8 776 incidents reported in the province.
Plato said while the crime statistics provided some measure of the success of policing, they were also a valuable tool for responding to crime patterns and directing valuable resources to where they are most needed. He said crime statistics had to be released more frequently to allow various government departments to assist in changing crime patterns and help prevent crime.
“Not only are we not given access to crime statistics, we are also not given any information to indicate where problematic areas are. The national police commissioner today singled out socio-economic problems and the need for partners.
“The Western Cape government, which has no operational control over the SAPS, is doing everything it can to address socio-economic problems and contribute to crime prevention and assisting the SAPS, but we are hamstrung without information which would allow us to be more responsive to the needs that exist,” Plato said.
Among the issues that Plato will interrogate Lamoer and his team on are the reasons for the increase in violent crimes, and what interventions have been implemented to reduce murder and attempted murder.