Seaboard crime see-saws

Police Minister Bheki Cele released the national crime statistics on Friday July 31. Picture Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA)

The Cape Town Central police station was listed among the top 30 stations with the highest number of common robberies, property-related crimes and theft out of/from motor vehicles, and ranked number five on the list of top 30 stations with the most cases of sexual assault crimes in the country.

This is according to the national crime statistics which were released by Police Minister Bheki Cele on Friday July 31.

Both Camps Bay and Sea Point have shown a slight decrease in property-related crimes when comparing the figures for the 2018/19 monitoring period to the current one.

Sea Point went from 1 449 to 1 360 and Camps Bay from 327 to 198. In the category for “other serious crimes”, a total of 2 658 were reported in Sea Point – a slight decrease from 2 858 previously. In Camps Bay, this category saw a decrease from 751 to 587.

Sea Point had a decrease in contact crimes from 291 to 263. These numbers stood at 383 in 2010. Sexual assault offences which include rape, attempted sexual assault and contact sexual offences increased from 10 to 19 in Sea Point.

Sea Point CPF chairperson, Heather Tager, however, pointed out that these stats only reflect incidents which were reported to police, emphasising the importance of reporting all crimes to ensure that crime in the area is accurately recorded.

“These statistics only relate to the year up until the end of March 2020. There were some concerning increases in sexual offences but the actual numbers are fortunately extremely low,” she said.

Ms Tager said contact crimes continued to fall overall – the only increase being serious assaults. “Property crime, which tends to be the most significant in our area, has shown a fall overall, especially in the area of theft out of motor vehicles, but I fear this is due mainly to non-reporting,” she said.

She added that burglaries had increased but remained consistent with the average of the past decade. “We are aware of reports on social media in recent months indicating concerns and suggesting rising incidents. I don’t doubt the incidents mentioned but, sadly, if residents do not report such incidents they will not be reflected officially.

“As a consequence, SAPS at provincial and national level will have a distorted picture of crime within our community and what resources are needed to address that. I cannot stress too strongly the importance of making sure what is happening here is properly put on record with cases being opened,”she said.

She added that recent months had been tough for residents and law enforcement officials.

“We have been without sufficient visible policing for some time but with the return of a number of officers that has improved.

“Lockdown has led to more people in the area, some here with criminal intent. Our official police service – the SAPS – needs to be there for us and work efficiently to provide us with the service we need,” she said.

In Camps Bay, the total number of contact crimes decreased from 84 to 78, with incidents in this category having been at 138, 10 years ago. There we only two reported sexual assault offences in the area in the previous monitoring period and they remained the same in the latest stats.

The Cape Town Central station saw a slight increase in contact crimes from 2472 to 2626, while property-related crimes went from 4685 last year to 4470.

The station ranked number one in the category for common robbery, property-related crimes, theft out of/from motor vehicle and ranked number five for sexual assault crimes nationally.

CPF chairman Marc Truss said common robbery was the main challenge, taking over from theft out of motor vehicle which had been a challenge for the past three years.

Mr Truss said this was not a good reflection on Cape Town.

“In a positive light, we saw an increase in crimes because more people are now coming forward and reporting crime. We also had a lot of false cases where people report cases so they can be able to claim from insurances,” he said.

Touching on the plan to combat crime, Mr Truss said more police visibility was needed.

“We need more officers patrolling the areas on foot.

“We need people to be able to walk and interact with the police. We can’t just have officers in vehicles driving by people, there’s hardly any interaction there. We need to go back to that and earn the trust of the community,”he said.