#CrimeStats: WC sees spike in contact crimes

The 2014/2015 crime statistics show an 18.6% increase in aggravated robbery while murder is up by 9,7%.

FILE: Police and the army raided the Madala hostel in Alexandra just before midnight on 22 April 2015. The move comes in a bid to quell xenophobic violence. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Western Cape, a province struggling to come to grips with gang violence, has seen the highest increase in contact crimes compared to the rest of the country at seven percent.

The 2014/2015 crime statistics show an 18.6 percent increase in aggravated robbery in the province while murder is up by 9.7 percent.

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega says eight out of the top 10 police stations that contributed to the overall number of murders are in the Western Cape.

"The highest recorded was Nyanga at 300 then the two in KwaZulu-Natal, Inanda and Umlazi with 179 and 170 and that was followed by seven others by the Western Cape."

Meanwhile, opposition politicians have bemoaned the increase in violent crimes nationally.

Democratic Alliance MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard says this is a reflection on police leadership.

"If that was a CEO of a company they would have been fired a long time ago."

Freedom Front Plus MP Peter Groenewald says South Africa is becoming an increasingly violent country.

"If you look at communities, people are taking the law into their own hands, necklacing people who they think committed crime. As far as the Freedom Plus is concerned we also say that the report should be given quarterly so that preventative steps can be taken."

The ANC meanwhile says a collaborative effort is needed to fight crime.

DIEPSLOOT

At the same time, one township that has bucked the crime trend is Diepsloot, north of Johannesburg.

A pilot project in the area has seen the installation of alarms in over 500 households and the murder rate has dropped by nine percent.

The alarm system is linked to homeowners and neighbours cellphones. Besides making a loud noise, they also notify them of an intrusion.

Police on patrol will also receive an alert, showing them exactly where a particular crime is taking place.

A resident says the new system makes her feel secure.

"I have four kids and I feel safe, so even if I am not here, I know my kids are safe."

Diepsloot's way of fighting crime provides a flicker of hope in an otherwise grim national picture. Authorities hope that once this pilot project is rolled out, there will be an even greater drop in crime in the area.