Drugs and alcohol still main culprits in crime
Drug and alcohol abuse was, once again, singled out as the major cause of crime in the Southern Cape during a crime statistics media briefing on Tuesday 31 October where Eden Cluster Commander, Maj-Gen Oswald Reddy, analysed the various increases and decreases in crime in the district.
According to the trends, George was the most problematic station with some serious and property-related crimes such as robbery at non-residential premises, theft of a motor vehicle, theft out or from a motor vehicle, commercial crime mostly internet related - general theft and shoplifting.
These crimes escalated and most incidents took place in the CBD. Thembalethu, specifically Zone 6, showed the highest number of murders, mostly after 22:00 on Sunday evenings.
What became of the new intake of constables?
Most of last year's intake of new police constables were deployed in George.
The other stations in the area, Conville, Thembalethu and Pacaltsdorp, did not directly receive any of the new members.
When asked how this influences the statistics, Reddy explained that the provincial commissioner has a discretion to redeploy resources based on the contribution of crime from each station. George, Oudtshoorn and Knysna were identified as three of the highest contributing stations to overall crime. Although not in the top ten, they are in the top 30 in the country. According to Reddy, the redistribution of resources had to focus on the priority of the commissioner. "When he took office he introduced a four-pillar approach to policing in the province: Back to Basics, Partnerships, Focused Approach and Service Delivery. The stations that were more problematic had to be beefed up to reduce the overall volumes of crime."
Cluster crime combating teams have been established and many of the new intake have been drawn to these teams that work at any police station across the cluster.
All 13 stations benefit from these teams.
Sexual offences remain a headache
Sexual offences remain one of the main concerns in the area with Conville, Oudtshoorn, George and Knysna under the top 30 contributors in the country. Most of these were reported in Knysna. This is certainly a cause for concern, but Maj-Gen Reddy said it can also be an indication of more victims reporting these crimes and that efforts by the police to create awareness
around reporting these offences are paying off.
He said that these offences, however, remain a challenge and one of the biggest concerns is the ages of the victims and perpetrators. "It is difficult for police, as most incidents occur indoors and many are still not reported."
Although murder in the Southern Cape decreased by 12% (18 cases fewer than last year's 150) and attempted murder by 0,2% (38 cases fewer than the previous year's 119) most other contact crimes, such as assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm (assault GBH), common assault and aggravated robbery showed an increase at most stations.
According to Reddy, alcohol is a big generator of most contact crimes."When people consume too much alcohol they can become the victim or the perpetrator. People commit robbery to get money to buy alcohol and in most cases they become violent. People who consume alcohol and become victims of crime are defenceless and easy targets."
Although various projects, which include the Anti Rape and Responsible Drinking campaigns, have been initiated to address specific crimes, he still urges the community to report all crimes.
From left are Lt Col Richard Tonkin, Col Clive Kaptein, Maj-Gen Oswald Reddy, Col Derek Daniels and Capt Malcolm Pojie after the media briefing on Tuesday morning.
Eden Cluster Commander, Maj-Gen Oswald Reddy