Crime still high

Members of the South African National Defence Force have been deployed to Mitchells Plain and other gang-ridden areas on the Cape Flats.

Mitchell’s Plain police station appears on 16 of the top 30 police stations lists in the country with the highest numbers of crimes reported, according to the latest crime statistics, released on Friday July 31.

It records crimes reported between April 2019 and March this year. It lists the top 30 police stations in South Africa in a total of 34 crime categories.

Mitchell’s Plain police precinct, among the biggest in the country, is on 16 of these lists. The First Avenue station had the most reported sexual assault cases with 88 cases, 17 more cases than it did between 2018 and 2019. It also had the most common assault cases at
1 770, which is 109 more cases than previously. It topped the charts for malicious damage to property with 1 029 cases, 18 cases fewer than previously.

Mitchell’s Plain police station also had the second most community reported crimes – 10 811 cases, this is 563 cases less than in the previous year. These are less serious crimes, such as crimen injuria and shoplifting cases. Cape Town Central police station beat it with 12 801 cases, which was down by 946 cases.

Mitchell’s Plain also came second on the lists for contact crime with 4 231 cases (down 71 cases from the previous period); and all theft mentioned elsewhere with 2 786 cases, (89 cases fewer than previously).

It had the third most attempted murder cases with 202 dockets, down 11 cases.

Mitchell’s Plain police station took fourth place on the lists for other serious crimes with 3 521 cases; seventh for common robbery with 555 cases; 12th for robbery with aggravating circumstances with 875 cases; 14th for sexual offences with 212 cases; 17th with 20 cases of arson; 18th place on the list for murders, with 115 cases; 20th for burglary at residential premises with 776 cases; 20th for property-related crime with 2 010 cases; and 22nd for theft out of or from motor vehicle with 850 cases.

Station commander Brigadier Cass Goolam attributed the drop in crime figures to the willingness of the community to work with the police. He said there was a concerted effort by the station’s management to maintain high levels of discipline and that the concept of teamwork was crucial.

“We don’t see ourselves as separate from the team. A very crucial point is also that Mitchell’s Plain is a very sensitive crime environment, high levels of tolerance are necessary for mutual co-operation and we believe that we have achieved those high levels of tolerance, taking into account that our partners are passionate and robust,” he said.

Brigadier Goolam said the station topping the lists in crime categories had to be looked at against the backdrop of the community’s initiatives to change societal views.

He said they organised programmes and encouraged victims to report crime.

“We are the ones who establish support groups in the community to identify and bring forward such crimes, so that they can be dealt with in terms of the criminal justice system,” he said.

Brigadier Goolam said there were instances where some crimes were reported for a specific agenda not because it took place, for example, insurance, vindictiveness, using the police to fight personal battles, whether it was a disagreement between partners; and at times to siphon money by opening a case only to withdraw it.

He said a lot of education had to be done around sexual offences, similarly with domestic violence. “Firstly societal norms or behaviour need to change and secondly there should be facilities for victims to access,” he said.

Brigadier Goolam said the community had to be taught how to respond in instances of domestic violence because there was a tendency to report it in favour of the perpetrator – by seeking out the suspect; implicating the wrong person; and sometimes destroying crime scenes.

“I see the increase in reporting sexual offences related crimes as a positive, as I honestly believe these cases are still severely under-reported, especially where the perpetrators are family,” he said.

He called on the community to show a genuine interest by getting involved in the general affairs in the neighbourhood; including participating in the structures to combat crime.

He said the reduction in terms of quantified numbers is always good as it is an indicator of whether they were on the right track.

“I would like to thank the community, especially the community police forum structures and the religious fraternity for their unswerving support,” Brigadier Goolam said.

Lentegeur police station acting station commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Harry Brickles, said although crime figures have decreased the community should still work closely with the police, “to ensure the safety of our community and to join our safety structures”.

Lentegeur police station was ninth on the list for all theft not mentioned elsewhere with 1 698 cases, down 211 cases from 2018/2019; and 23rd for other serious crimes with 2119 cases, down 144 cases.

“Wherever crime is committed, we encourage the community to report all crime to give us a clear indication of crime in the area so we can police it pro-actively,” he said.

Lentegeur had 98 less contact crimes (crimes against the person) at the end of March this year with 1 570 cases reported compared to March 2019.

They had an increase of 13 sexual offences cases, with 87 cases.

Lieutenant-Colonel Brickles called on the community to form a safety net around children. “Your child is my child. And where we find child abuse, come forward to report it to the police,” he said.

There was a drop in the reporting of drug-related crime by 169 cases, which is at 1 895 cases.

Strandfontein police station had a total of 265 contact crimes (crimes against the person) reported, 22 more cases than previously. They had six more carjackings, a total of eight were reported; and four more sexual offences were reported, coming to a total of 24 cases.

No robbery at residential premises were reported in the precinct in the past year compared to the four reports previously.

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