Province’s murder rate up and highest: Daily Dispatch

THE Eastern Cape has retained its title as the murder capital of South Africa, with an increase in the number of murders reported.

Crime statistics released by Police Commissioner General Riah Phiyega in Pretoria yesterday show a total of 3 453 people were murdered in the province in the 2013-14 financial year.

This was an increase from the previous year, during which 3 344 murders were reported.

The figures show the chance of being murdered was, for the fifth year running, higher in the Eastern Cape than in any other province.

Phiyega said all categories of violent crimes including murder, attempted murder and aggravated robbery had increased (see graphic). The Eastern Cape also recorded an increase in rape, bank robberies, car-jacking and business robberies, while slight decreases were recorded in assault GBH, common assault, stock theft and house break-ins.

Chairman of the portfolio committee on safety and liaison in the Bhisho Legislature, Michael Peter, said the high crime rate would be reduced only when provincial and national police implemented an existing crime prevention strategy.

“Furthermore, the SAPS need all the support, they cannot achieve this alone.

“We need to mobilise communities and structures in all spheres of society to fight crime,” said Peter.

On Thursday Peter told the Dispatch he expected an increase in serious crimes, adding that the committee would be more interested in finding solutions for criminal activity highlighted in the statistics.

Eastern Cape police said yesterday they would not comment on the statistics until provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Celiwe Binta had made her address on the matter in Zwelitsha next Tuesday.

Democratic Alliance spokesman on safety in the province, Bobby Stevenson, said: “The increase in the number of murders and sexual offences means that violent crime is still frighteningly high in our province. The Eastern Cape, with a murder ratio of 52.1 per 100 000 is the murder capital of South Africa.”

Last year the murder ratio was 50.8 per 100 000. Stevenson called on high police visibility, a rapid police response and well-trained detective service to reduce crime. — zwangam@dispatch.co.za