Burglars target George business sites

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Western Cape -

George has experienced the highest number of business burglaries in the province with criminals gaining access through roofs.

Details about which crimes are prevalent in specific areas of the Western Cape are contained in the recently released annual provincial police report.

The report details which police stations had the highest incidence of specific reported crimes and covers the 12 months from April 1, 2012 to March 31 last year.

While most areas were clustered around the city, others were situated further away in the province.

George reported the highest incidence of burglaries at business premises and the provincial report said a criminal group, which operated over weekends, had gained access via roofs and forced safes open with grinders.

“A disturbing fact is that most stolen property is bought by foreign nations or exchanged for drugs by them,” it said.

The provincial report said the Beaufort West police station had recorded the highest number of stock theft cases, with 53 reported there in a year.

“A disturbing tendency identified is that animals are stolen, slaughtered and the meat sold for drugs and/or liquor. An influx of unemployed people to rural areas has impacted on the number of cases being reported,” it said.

Mitchells Plain station had reported the highest number of attempted murders.

This station also reported the highest occurrence of a number of other crimes, including sexual offences and assaults.

A section of the provincial report said factors affecting the Mitchells Plain area included the size of its population coupled with a high unemployment rate and drug abuse.

Nyanga, labelled as the murder capital of the province, remained the station recording the highest number of killings.

The annual report said: “The largest contributors to the murder rate are densely populated areas with informal settlements that are gang-infested.” Khayelitsha had reported the highest number of business robberies and the provincial report said the informal sector had made up 65 percent of the 1 934 cases.

Police at the Goodwood station had recorded three cash in transit robberies, the highest number in the province.

“Perpetrators operate in groups (and) are mostly armed with hand guns. In certain instances the suspects were armed with assault rifles,” the provincial report said.

It said most cases had occurred when cash in transit companies were collecting cash at filling stations and at businesses in malls.

Milnerton was identified as the station which contributed the most to the number of “sexual offences dependent on police action for detection” - these crimes included running a brothel and possessing or dealing in indecent or pornographic material.

Sixty-four cases had been reported in Milnerton, which was followed by Bellville, with 19, and Sea Point, with 14 cases.

The report did not investigate why there were more reports of these crimes in certain areas.

Reports of theft out of cars were most prevalent in Cape Town central, with the police station situated in “a well-known business area”.

The provincial report said some police stations had reported that some car guards, who were not registered with companies, were involved in stealing out of vehicles and many were repeat offenders released from prison.

It said that, to make money, they donned reflective bibs and went to parking areas.

The report said police stations had also reported that many theft out of car cases were “opened merely for the purpose of insurance claims and doubt exists as to the validity of the theft being reported”.

The annual report offers a more in-depth look at crime affecting the province than the information that is contained in the national police statistics. - Cape Times

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