Crime Stats 2016 – Nearly half a million people victimised in Province
Statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
I welcome the opportunity to reflect on the crime realities in our province, following the release of the national annual crime statistics today.
The crime situation in the Western Cape at first glance shows slight statistical improvement in 17 crime categories.
However, 10 crime categories reflect an increase. It is very disturbing that these are mostly violent crime categories. It is also very disturbing that we are witnessing a 10-year high in the province in six of these categories. Nothing less than urgent and decisive responses to these crimes are required.
I am also concerned that less crime has statistically been reported than the year before – 490 383 in 2015/16 compared to 492 963 in 2014/15. This could be a reflection of lower public confidence in complaints actually being attended to effectively.
I would caution against reading too much into reported decreases in some crime categories, as too many people still do not report crime to the police.
My office and department receive a daily stream of complaints about crime coming from community members, including complaints about ineffective policing and insufficient resources.
I fully support Western Cape Provincial Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula, his management team and the dedicated men and women in blue who serve our communities tirelessly, under difficult circumstances. They are in many cases also under-resourced.
As the Western Cape Government, we believe that under the new provincial Commissioner’s leadership, we are experiencing increased policing stability, and better accountability to the people in our communities.
We are hopeful of further improvements in crime statistics once the highly anticipated quarterly stats are released, as required by the Western Cape Community Safety Act.
We remain committed to playing our part in helping to increase the safety of all our communities in the province.
We remain determined, through our whole of society approach, to see improved strategic partnerships and targeted interventions bringing about safer environments. Ultimately the public need to experience this difference in their daily lives.
The quarterly crime statistics will go some way to enable the entire safety fraternity in the province to make more timeous assessments of the crime realities communities are faced with.
Importantly, more frequent stats will help realign the resources necessary to intervene and respond to crime.
The annual national statistics released for the Western Cape show increases for crime categories affecting our communities the most:
1.2% (38) increase in murder – on average three more murders reported per month;
2.76% (616) increase in robbery with aggravating circumstances – on average 51 more cases reported every month;
0.6% (690) increase in contact crimes – on average 57 more cases reported every month;
5.9% (5 265) increase in drug related crime – on average 14 more cases reported on a daily basis; and
19.3% (416) increase in robbery at residential premises – on average 34 more cases reported every month.
It remains of great concern that there is still, on average, 7 cases of illegal possessions of firearms and ammunition reported every day. We seem to be unable to stop the illegal trade and unregulated use of these firearms, or to effectively determine where they are coming from.
The recent policing finds of heavy artillery - for instance the Simon’s Town Naval Base robbery, the Kuilsriver arms cache bust and the weapons found in Kleinvlei – will always be welcomed but we have to question where these weapons are coming from, which kingpins are controlling their distribution, and when intelligence-led policing is going to stem the tide.
In the Western Cape, we are seeing a 10-year high in:
Total contact crimes – 116 858 cases reported, of which
Murder – 3 224 cases reported;
Common Assault – 41 304 cases reported;
Robbery with Aggravating circumstances – 23 732 cases reported;
Carjacking – 2 032 cases reported;
Robbery at residential premises – 2 574 cases reported; and
Total crime detected as a results of police action – 108 782 cases reported, of which
Drug-related crime – 93 996 cases reported.
Drug-related crime in the Western Cape now equates to 36.26% of the total drug-related crime in the country, compared to the 33.2% of the total in the country in 2014/15.
This is a situation we cannot accept as normal.
The statistics released today demonstrate the safety reality of many people in the Western Cape on a daily basis. This is the reality within which the Department of Community Safety is actively trying to help create safer environments for people to live, work and move about in.
We cannot celebrate reductions in attempted murders for instance, when in real terms almost half a million people have been severely affected by a crime in the Western Cape over the last year.
My Department and I will interpret these statistics over the weekend, in the thorough manner which they deserve. The safety of the people living in this province has to be our main priority.
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