‘Crime could empty City’
Police warn business robberies may spike dramatically over the festive season
IN the wake of 877 businessrelated crimes being reported to at least four police stations in the city since April 1, police have warned that the festive season could see this figure increase dramatically.
uMgungundlovu South Cluster commander MajorGeneral Phumelele Makoba said Pietermaritzburg police station, Alexandra Road police station and Plessislaer police station accounted for most of the reported businessrelated crimes.
She was speaking at a business breakfast hosted by the Department of Community Safety and Liaison to deal with crime affecting Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas, hosted at the City Hall.
According the statistics presented by Makoba:
231 business burglaries were reported at Pietermaritzburg police station
91 business burglaries were reported at Plessislaer police station
48 business burglaries were reported at Alexandra Road police station
27 cases of business robbery were reported at Pietermaritzburg police station
64 cases of business robbery were reported at Plessislaer police station
23 cases of business robbery were reported at Taylor’s Halt
22 cases of business robbery were reported at Alexandra Road police station
296 cases of shoplifting were reported at Pietermaritzburg police station, and
75 cases of shoplifting were reported at Plessislaer.
“Shoplifting is showing a decrease when you compare it to the same period last year. Last year at Pietermaritzburg police station it was at 472. In Plessislaer it is stable; last year it was 76,” said Makoba. “The modus operandi used by criminals in most cases is that they come in a group of an average of three people and they gain entry by forcing open doors or windows.
“They come with knives or guns in some instances and they hold up the owners. Most [of the goods] targeted during these robberies and burglaries are cash, electronic appliances, computer equipment and groceries.
“In most cases the people doing crime are youth between the ages of 18 and 35,” she said.
Makoba said police expected a spike in business robberies and burglaries as the festive season approaches, and she warned business people to refrain from carrying large amount of cash. “Some of the business robberies are as a result of business owners sleeping in their businesses and they become easy targets,” she said.
In the North Cluster, commander MajorGeneral Bongi Sithole said Mountain Rise police station and Howick accounted for most of the businessrelated crime reported in the cluster.
Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business chief executive Melanie Ve ness warned Pietermaritzburg would be left with an “empty city” if crime was not arrested in the CBD.
She said many businesses had already left because of crime.
She added the closure of the eMatsheni Beer Hall had provided some business owners with a headache as vagrants scattered across town.
uMgungundlovu District Municipality chief whip Dan Ndlela called on the Department of Home Affairs to ensure that all people operating businesses in the city were legally documented.