7% decrease in contact crimes in Mpumalanga

Friday, September 28, 2012

Mbombela - Mpumalanga Community Safety, Security and Liaison MEC Vusi Shongwe has released the province's latest crime statistics on Friday with the figures reflecting a 7% decrease in the overall category of contact crimes, although murder went up 1%.

The figures are for the period 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012

"We are very much concerned about an increase in murder, robbery and commercial robbery crimes because it's happened on our doorsteps," he told journalists.

He said crimes such as murder and robbery tend to happen when people are drunk.

The MEC said bank managers would be asked to help fight commercial robberies in which people are robbed after withdrawing large amounts of cash from the banks. "We will soon engage bank managers in the whole province to warn them about allegations that [insiders] alert criminals about clients withdrawing a lump sum of money," he said.

Murder has gone up by 1% and aggravated robbery by 3.1%. There was also a 3.2% increase in property-related crimes, which include burglaries at businesses and homes, car and motor cycle theft, theft from vehicles, and stock theft. Burglaries at businesses recorded the biggest increase at 4.9%.

Shongwe said there was a "massive" increase of 39.3% of driving under the influence of alcohol.

There was also a "major" increase in illegal possession of firearms and ammunition at 29.6% and drug related crimes at 30.7%.

There was a 42.9% increase in cash in transit robberies.

However, carjackings dropped by 13.6%, truck hijacking by 8.6% and street robbery by 6.7%.

Serious crimes are highest in the Nkangala region at 40% followed by Ehlanzeni at 34% and Gert Sibande at 26%.

"We have taken a resolution as Mpumalanga province to focus on the 25 identified police stations [in areas] which contribute immensely in our crime statistics," Shongwe said.

He noted that there had been some improvement, however, including an overall 7% decrease in contact crimes.

Contact crimes include seven categories of serious crimes that are grouped together, namely murder, attempted murder, sexual offenses, assault with an intention to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH), common assault, aggravated robbery and common robbery.

Individually, there was a 10.4% decrease in common assault; 9.1% decrease in assault GBH; 7.9% in sexual offences; 4.7% in common robbery and attempted common robbery, and 5.7% in attempted murder.

There was a 9% decrease in contact related crimes, which include malicious damage to property and arson.

There was a 1.1% decrease in the category "Other Serious Crimes", which relate to shoplifting, other thefts and commercial crimes.

The MEC urged the public to help fight crime. "Remember that crime takes place within our communities and as members of the public we are aware of that. I therefore encourage every one of us, including the media to be whistle-blowers against crime and report crime at all times," he said.

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