Northern Cape crime stats are cold comfort to citizens of province

Pule Thole, MPL

DA Provincial Spokesperson of Transport, Safety & Liaison

The 2013/2014 crime statistics offer little comfort to the people of the Northern Cape.

The DA welcomes the slight decreases in categories of crime such as common assault, stock theft, driving under the influence of alcohol and especially sexual offences. Nonetheless, sexual offences still remain far too high and see the Northern Cape saddled with the second highest crime ratio in this category.  Sexual violence is intolerable and much, much more needs to be done to rid the province of its depressing stigma of being the rape capital of the country.

It is also worrying that a large number of crimes have significantly increased in the Northern Cape.

The increase in murder says little for the police having combated the violent nature of the province.

An increase in drug related crimes is also of concern, especially when considering that the province is still only at the start of the process of establishing a drug rehabilitation centre in the Northern Cape. At the same time, we all know that drug related crimes fuel other violent crimes.

An increase in robbery is also of great concern to the DA but it is not surprising. It is no secret that the majority of our people no longer feel safe. On a day to day basis, we hear horror stories of how local residents have been attacked and tied up in their own houses, of how ruthless criminals have gained entry into places of refuge by stripping away burglar bars, climbing through roofs or breaking through locks. People who can afford to, are turning their homes into fortresses whilst those who can’t afford security measures, shut their doors and windows at night and pray to see another day.

It is a disgrace that, in this day and age, our people have to live like prisoners in their own homes. It is shameful that little children aren’t even safe at home, tucked up in their own beds at night.

The DA also has grave concerns about the failure by the police to properly categorise crimes such as domestic violence. As a result, domestic violence falls under a broader category of assault, which effectively hides the real situation on the ground. This is a situation that we know to be of a very serious level in the Northern Cape.

The DA can only wonder about the impact of the highly praised Northern Cape Crime Prevention Strategy? Our provincial government is all about planning and strategising but when it comes to implementation, we don’t see results. It’s high time that the safety of our people becomes a real priority and that talk is replaced by action. We need more police officers on the beat, more detectives to solve crimes and to put criminals behind bars, and more patrol vehicles guarding our streets.

The DA is of the view that the latest statistics are too old to serve a functional purpose. The DA wants to see real-time crime statistics made available to the public at station level. This will not only give the public information on the nature and extent of crime in their area, but also allow the SAPS to tailor local responses relevant to present-day realities.

The DA is also of the view that police ministers should not pat themselves on the back for meagre progress reflected by the 2013/2014 crime stats. For every two steps forward, they have also taken three steps back and the people of the Northern Cape will certainly not feel any safer as a result of these crime statistics.