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Violent crime significantly lower in our areas

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Incidents of violent crime have dropped in the community, while soft crime and snatch and grabs are on the rise, security experts revealed this week in the wake of the recently released national crime statistics.

The official crime statistics released last Friday show an increase in various crimes including murder across the country for the period 2019/2020.

However, according to the Community Active Protection (CAP) analytics department, violent crime in areas affecting the community has reduced markedly in the past six months compared to previous years.

This is shown by statistics compiled since the beginning of the year, said Sean Jammy, the chief operating officer of CAP.

“This insight is valuable as it shows that COVID-19-influenced economic factors haven’t driven an increase in serious violent crime. It reinforces our belief that serious violent crimes are not influenced by economic factors, and perpetrators of the most heinous attacks exist irrespective of the economic climate,” said Jammy.

“Violent crimes are perpetrated by criminals who are motivated by a substantial financial gain along with a propensity to commit these types of crimes. These crimes are not perpetrated by people who need the items to survive,” he told the SA Jewish Report this week.

He said CAP had analysed statistics within the community since the beginning of 2020 to derive insight into crime trends affecting residents living and working in CAP-secured areas.

There had been a definite increase in soft crimes. “Soft crimes such as theft and attempted theft [of things like cameras, outdoor alarm sensors, wall lights, intercoms, bicycles, ladders, and tools] have increased.” These, Jammy said, are directly related to the economic environment. “These perpetrators do crime in order to survive. The number of criminals who commit soft crimes has increased during this time.

“To remove the opportunity to commit these crimes, residents need to assist in ensuring that these individuals are kept out of areas. Although it’s not easy to turn those in need away, we urge residents to support local charities instead of feeding and supporting displaced people in your suburbs directly from your home or at roadsides,” said Jammy.

Crime trends also reveal an increase in snatch and grabs.

“More people are exercising outside away from the gym during this time. Snatch and grabs greatly affect everyone in the household, ranging from residents going out for a jog, to helpers walking to nearby taxi ranks to go home. These crimes are committed within seconds, and can be avoided with the community’s help,” he said.

Armed robberies particularly affect domestic workers, who are being held up for their cell phones in public places. It also affects people waiting outside for transport.

“A perpetrator sees a person waiting in the street, often they are on their phone, and are caught off guard when their phone is yanked from them, and the perpetrator quickly disappears,” said Jammy.

He advises leaving all valuables at home when exercising or walking outside.

“Less foot traffic throughout areas will disable opportunities for criminals. if anyone or anything seems suspicious, report it to your security company,” he said.

Security experts urge members of the public to open a case with the South African Police Service when they have been a victim of crime, regardless of how petty or small the crime.

“Since 1 January 2019, 113 suspects apprehended by CAP were released due to cases not being opened. This is detrimental as these people can return to the streets to commit similar types of crime. The cycle can end with a case being opened which allows the suspects to be detained should they be apprehended,” said Jammy.

There were 21 325 murders between 1 April 2019 and 31 March 2020, according to the statistics released by Police Minister Bheki Cele and National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole last Friday.

This amounted to 303 more murders than the previous year – an increase of 1.4%. The 2019/2020 figures translate into 58.42 (rounded down) murders a day.

In this period, there were 49 murders in 46 incidents on farms and smallholdings, two more than the previous year.

There was an overall drop in reported crime in the most recently available crime statistics.

There were no bank robberies in South Africa in the period. However, carjacking and truck hijacking increased 13.3% and 1.7% respectively.

Jammy advised residents to get to know their neighbours, and know who is meant to be in the area. “This includes staff working on your property. Screening staff pre and post-employment is an effective way to ensure those working within the home are vetted. We also encourage residents to report nearby construction sites to the relevant security companies in the area.”

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