KOMATIPOORT – Police reported an increase of 1,4 per cent in reported crimes in Mpumalanga over the past financial year.
The provincial crime statistics were officially released during a media briefing organised by the SAPS and the Department of Community Safety, Security and Liaison (DCSSL) at Komati Lodge last Monday.
The purpose of the meeting was to raise the public’s awareness of crime issues in the area and the media’s role in reporting on it.
Attendees included Mr William Mthombothi (HOD, DCSSL), SAPS provincial commissioner, Lt Gen Mondli Zuma, Mr Pat Ngomane (MEC DCSSL) and Mr Kevin Pillay (chairman of the Community Policing Forum board) along with representatives of the SANDF, SAPS, Department of Home Affairs and SARS.
Ngomane highlighted that the meeting was about accountability regarding victims of crime.
The MEC quoted police minister Fikile Malula, “Behind the numbers are real killings, real lives, real hate, real harm, real losses, real deaths. These statistics represent the memory of that gruesome rape or murder, the fearful home invasion and loss of property.”
He urged the community and authorities to work together, as most crimes happen behind closed doors when police are not present.
Contact crimes, which include murder, attempted murder, sexual offences, assault and robbery, have gone up by two per cent. Murder is a huge concern, as cases have increased by 11 per cent, with a total of 954 cases reported across the province.
Attempted murder and aggravated robbery went up by 19,3 and 11,8 per cent respectively. Sexual offences and assault decreased by 3,5 and 4,1 per cent.
Ngomane said that most of these crimes happened during weekends and around midnight.
Illegal mining also played a significant role in escalating conduct crime.
Also included in the murder and attempted murder stats are instances where poachers were killed or injured in confrontations with law enforcement.
Illegal possession of firearms and ammunition and drug-related crimes have increased by 16,4 per cent.
Car and truck hijacking, house robberies and business robberies have increased by 12,3 per cent.
Ngomane stated that business owners are encouraged not to keep money on their premises, as it attracts criminals.
The DCSSL is continuing its awareness campaigns to aid the SAPS with rural safety, border security and to stop gender-based violence.
In efforts to increase border security, a project was launched to put up more barriers to make it more difficult for criminals to move goods across the border.
Stolen goods worth around R40 million were recovered in the previous financial year. Illegal goods, including cigarettes and clothing to the value of more than R27,4 million were confiscated along the border line. SANDF members arrested 4 319 people during patrols.
Ngomane thanked the community policing forums and community members for their assistance in the fight against crime.
Zuma told the meeting that the statistics give the SAPS an indication of which crimes to pay special attention to and whether their strategies are working.
The SAPS hope to strengthen the trust communities have in them and get people to report crimes. As the population increases, so will crime stats, therefore more police stations and mobile stations are being built and set up.
For the full statistics, click here.