Lizette Lancaster of the Institute for Security Studies said it was of concern that this year’s crime statistics showed an increase in the number of non-residential premises robbed in KwaZulu-Natal, in light of concerns that this crime was already under-reported.
She added that apart from businesses, non-residential premises in the statistics also covers robberies at places of worship. The statistics showed that robberies at non-residential premises had increased by 96 cases to 3047 cases recorded from April 1 to March 31 this year.
“The issue is that many cases of business robberies are just not being reported, it’s the people that are small entrepreneurs, like in the spaza shops, who are the victims. It important that a business robbery unit is set up and attached to big police stations across the country so they can be able to deal with such things,” she said.
The provincial statistics show business robberies had declined to below 2000 cases in the 2011/12 reporting period but increased in the following year and has been on an upward trend since. The statistics also showed that there had been five more cash in transit heists in the province, bringing the number of cases to 30, and three bank robberies.
Stock theft proves to be a challenge in the province, with an increase of 363 cases, from 5959 to 6322.
On a positive note, there was a substantial decrease in the number of truck hijackings from 81 to 52. General commercial crimes also recorded a decline of about 97 cases, from 12405 to 12308. Shoplifting also declined by 682 cases from 12302 to 11620.