Blue Security crime statistics released recently reveal a dramatic spike in contact crimes and housebreakings in Durban during the first half of this year.
Blue Security operations director Henk Van Bemmelen, who regularly tracks the crimes reported by customers to the Pinetown-based company’s control centre, said there had been a marked increase in contact crimes as well as housebreakings across the city from Umhlanga and Durban North to the Berea, Westville, Pinetown, Kloof, Hillcrest, Assagay and as far south as Amanzimtoti.
Van Bemmelen stressed that the statistics related only to incidents reported to the company’s control centre in its areas of operation and was therefore not a reflection of the total number of crimes committed city-wide during the period. Van Bemmelen said the company had noted a 136,54 % increase in the number of armed robberies between January and June 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.
“There were 52 armed robberies in the Durban area during the first six months of 2012 which increased to 123 armed robberies for the same period in 2013,” Van Bemmelen said. “Residential housebreakings where theft took place increased by 8,56% from 631 to 685 incidents while business housebreakings increased 27,97 percent from 286 incidents to 366 incidents,” Van Bemmelen said.
However, there was a 1,2% increase in attempted housebreakings which rose from 249 to 252, while attempted business housebreakings decreased 27,35% from 117 incidents to 85 incidents.
“The encouraging drop in the number of housebreakings at business premises could be an indication that business owners and insurers have tightened up their security systems to counter losses. This may have forced criminals to seek softer targets in residential properties which may have contributed to the spike in actual residential housebreakings which resulted in thefts.” Van Bemmelen said a worrying trend was also the increase in the number of trespassing incidents, up 118,75 percent from 48 incidents in the first six months of 2012 to 105 incidents at the end of the same period in 2013.
“The increase in the number of trespassing incidents is of concern because a trespasser is a potential housebreaker or thief who did not manage to commit the more serious crimes of housebreaking or even armed robbery and murder. However, the growth in the number of trespassing incidents reported to us could also indicate that residents are more vigilant and diligent about reporting this crime than they were a year ago.”
Van Bemmelen said hijacking had increased 5,56 percent from 36 incidents to 38 incidents while attempted hijacking had dropped 28,57 percent from 14 incidents to 10 incidents for the six month period.
Other crimes that increased between January 2013 and June 2013 compared to January 2012 and June 2012 were:
• Robbery 53,85% (from 13 in 2012 to 20 in 2013)
• Theft of motor vehicle 2,63% (from 38 in 2012 to 39 in 2013)
• Theft out of motor vehicle 65,45% (from 55 in 2012 to 91 in 2013) • Vandalism 10,91% (from 55 in 2012 to 61 in 2013
• Shoplifting 100% (from 4 in 2012 to 8 in 2013)
• Attempted murder 50% (from 2 in 2012 to 4 in 2013)
• Common theft 43,90% (from 246 in 2012 to 354 in 2013
• Domestic violence 11,76% (from 17 in 2012 to 19 in 2013)
• Murder 100% (from zero in 2012 to 1 in 2013)
• Rape 100% (from zero on in 2012 to 1 in 2013)
Crimes that decreased between January 2013 and June 2013 compared to January 2012 and June 2012 were:
• Shooting 42,31%
• Attempted murder 75% (from 4 in 2012 to 1 in 2013)
• Attempted theft of motor vehicle 25% (from 32 in 2012 to 24 in 2013)
• Fraud 33,3% (from 3 in 2012 to 2 in 2013)
• Residential housebreaking without theft 23,81% (from 21 in 2012 to 16 in 2013)
• Business housebreaking without theft 50% (from 2 in 2012 to 1 in 2013)
“Judging from the crime statistics over the six month period, it is clear that the fight against crime is far from over. Residents, the police and security companies need to work together using technology such as social media, street surveillance cameras and traditional neighbourhood watches, vehicle patrols and radio communications to stay a step ahead of the criminals who lurk in our neighbourhoods,” van Bemmelen added.