The number of contact crimes — such as murder and attempted murder — although frighteningly high, have stabilised at an astronomical level. On the one hand I am relieved but on the other disappointed that we are still living in a very violent society.

In total contrast to this, crimes against property have shown an upward drift in certain categories. The real shocker is the high increase in robberies at non-residential premises, which are up almost 50% (from 851 to 1 273). Burglary at non-residential premises is also up by about three percent.

This means businesses continue to undergo high costs to protect their premises. An added cost to business is the increase in truck highjackings from 30 to 57.

The high rate of burglaries at residential premises remains almost constant at 28 384 compared with 28 572 the previous year. This means that 78 homes are broken in to every day in this province. Robbery at residential premises which increased 128% last year continues to rise. This means four households everyday are confronted by robbers.

Crimes against property, particularly when your home is invaded, strikes fear into the heart of our communities. Until there is a major downward shift in these kinds of crimes, people will not feel safe and secure even in their own homes.

Of ongoing concern is the increase of stock theft of 11%. This impacts on the viability of the agricultural sector which is a large employer in the province.

The fact that the crimes of driving under the influence of alcohol and drug-related crime are slightly up is a reflection of good police work in nailing drunken drivers and the SAPS must be commended for this.

However, we are never going to get the drug situation under control unless we re-establish the narcotics bureau which is a specialised unit for dealing with drugs.

During the Soccer World Cup the police engaged in a number of successful strategies which created a climate of real security. These strategies need to be applied round the clock if we are to bring the crime rate down. This together with a return of specialised units, an increase in the number of detectives and improved visibility patrolling will create the society in which we will all feel safe.

For further information, please contact Bobby Stevenson, MPL on 082 775 3444.

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