Nelson Mandela Bay’s crime hotspots
Bethelsdorp and Kwazakhele ranked among 30 most dangerous places in country described as ‘a war zone’
Two of the country’s most deadly policing precincts are in Port Elizabeth.
The areas – Bethelsdorp and Kwazakhele – are ranked among the top 30 most dangerous in SA, while Gelvandale tops the national list in terms of attempted murders.
Startling figures for Nelson Mandela Bay show rampant violent crime – two people murdered, three raped and four robbed every day.
This was revealed on Tuesday when police minister Bheki Cele addressed parliament’s police portfolio committee on the annual crime statistics.
The figures show that almost 15 houses and four businesses are burgled every day in the metro.
Cele likened the crime level in the country to a “war zone”, with 57 people murdered daily across SA.
“It borders [on a] war zone while there is peace and no war in South Africa,” he said. “The SA Police Service dropped the ball. Literally dropped the ball, for such figures.”
Bethelsdorp community policing forum acting chair Karen Kemp said several factors contributed to the increase in crime in the area.
“Gangsterism is rife here.
“This is coupled with the issue of poverty and unemployment. You often see youngsters loitering on street corners.
“They get poached by gang leaders to peddle drugs on their behalf,” Kemp said.
She said the situation was so dire that youngsters even stole household items from their parents to sell to feed their drug habits.
“Unfortunately, people are so terrified of all the violence and gangsterism.
“The community is so scared to open up cases [with police] or to speak openly about it, otherwise they would be targeted by gang leaders.”
The 2017/2018 crime figures – from April 1 2017 to March 31 2018 – show that murders, hijackings, sexual assaults, robberies and cash-in-transit heists were all on the rise across the Eastern Cape.
A total of 20,336 people were killed nationally, of whom 3,815 – more than 10 a day – were in the Eastern Cape.
The Eastern Cape holds five spots on the list of the 30 policing areas in the country that have the highest murder rate, making them the most deadly areas in the province.
The Mthatha area had 160 murders – the ninth highest in SA, followed by Bethelsdorp with 127 (13th highest).
Kwazakhele had 104 murders – the 17th highest in the country, followed by Lusikisiki with 97 (22nd highest) and Ngqeleni with 90 (28th highest).
Crime research and statistics head Major-General Norman Sekhukhune said 730 of the murder victims in the Eastern Cape were women and children – 550 women, 137 boys and 43 girls.
Sekhukhune said there were 808 gang-related murders in the Western Cape and 87 in the Eastern Cape.
Gelvandale is ranked the worst police precinct in the country in terms of attempted murder, with 265 cases.
Nationally, Bethelsdorp is the fourth worst attempted murder hotspot, followed by Kwazakhele at ninth.
In a breakdown of the Bay’s figures, 660 people were murdered in the 2017/2018 period – almost two murders a day.
There were also almost three reported rapes a day – totalling 1,049.
Of the 1,565 robberies, 874 were house robberies in which people were attacked inside their homes and 691 were business robberies.
There were 628 hijackings reported in the Bay, with Kwazakhele (139), New Brighton (122) and KwaDwesi (52) the hotspots.
The figures show that there were a total of 5,431 burglaries at Bay homes and 1,784 at businesses.
Houses that are the most likely to be burgled are in the Walmer policing area – such as Walmer and Lorraine with 743 burglaries reported – followed by the Kabega Park policing area with 574 burglaries, and the Mount Road policing area with 538.
The most likely spot for your car to be stolen or broken into is in the Humewood policing area – which includes Central and the beachfront.
However, the entire province is experiencing an increase in serious crime, including cash-in-transit heists – from 11 in 2016/2017 to 23 over the current period.
Sexual offences increased from 8,050 to 8,094 reported cases and house robberies from 2,171 to 2,184.
While almost all violent crimes have increased, non-violent incidents such as business and home burglaries as well as car theft have decreased across the province.
Police portfolio committee chair Francois Beukman said the murder rate was completely unacceptable, and the committee emphasised the need for a strategic intervention from the SAPS.
DA legislature leader Bobby Stevenson said the figures showed a bloody wave of violent crime sweeping through the Eastern Cape.
Stevenson said this demonstrated that the police were in desperate need of an overhaul.
“It is clear that the SAPS is under-resourced, undertrained, under-equipped and under-staffed which is why the battle to keep the people of the Eastern Cape safe is being lost,” he said.
“Funds spent to protect politicians could be better used to buy vehicles that can be used for patrolling and increasing manpower.” – Additional reporting by Hendrick Mphande
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