Alarm raised at rising number of contact crime in Eastern Cape 

Eastern Cape MEC for community safety and liaison Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe has expressed concern at the increasing rate of contact crime in the province.

The alarming rate of crime was revealed by provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Nomthetheleli Mene during the release of the provincial fourth-quarter crime statistics [January to March 2022] at the East London International Convention Centre.

Contact crime including murder, attempted murder, sexual offence, assault, common assault, common robbery, and robbery with aggravating circumstances have all gone up.

The crime statistics show that about 1 045 people were murdered during the reporting period, up by 107 people from the same period in 2021. Two-hundred and forty five of these murders were committed at the OR Tambo district, with 226 of them recorded at Nelson Mandela Bay.

Sexual offences have also risen by 178 to 1 838 compared with the same period in 2021. The statistics indicate that about 875 rape offences were committed in victims’ or perpetrators’ premises by the people known to them.

Community activist Petrus Majola said crimes that are committed behind closed doors and bedrooms of the victims or perpetrators pose a challenge for the police, but urged the men in blue to do their best and act when the suspect has been identified.

Mene said the three Eastern Cape economic hubs – Nelson Mandela Bay, Buffalo City Metro and OR Tambo district – account for 60% of crime in the province.

The figures also show that 84% of about 322 vehicles hijacked during this period were in these three districts, with about 50% of all car hijackings in the province taking place at Nelson Mandela Bay.

Tikana-Gxothiwe said the provincial government is also concerned about the rising number of young people being sexually abused by their parents or relatives, adding that some of the cases do not even get reported to the police.

Tikana-Gxothiwe said: “When you look at the areas of murders, gender-based violence and femicide, they are very stubborn and difficult because they are happening indoors where police cannot reach out. What is also concerning is the young people that are being raped by their relatives.

“We are making calls to our communities and family members to report all types of crimes.”

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