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The number of robberies with aggravating circumstances in Grahamstown has increased more than ninefold in the past nine years, growing from 44 in 2003/2004 to 344 last year and to 417 in the latest reporting year from April 2011 to March 2012.
This category of crime means that violence, or an overt threat of violence, is used when the robbery is committed. Two sub-categories of the aggravated robbery category showed equally shocking growth figures – robbery at residential premises increased from a single instance in 2003/2004 to two cases in 2007/2008 and reached 39 cases in the latest year.
Comparable figures for robbery at non-residential premises grew even more quickly, going from five cases in 2003/2004 to staggering 99 cases in 2011/2012.
The total number of sex crimes in Grahamstown has reached its highest level since the 2006/2007 record of 206 reported incidents.
According to the latest data released by the South African Police Service (SAPS) on Thursday, 190 sex-related crimes were committed in this area in the 12 months from April 2011 to March 2012. The new system of reporting does not provide information about the different types of sex crimes, so we are not able to draw useful conclusions about the nature of the sex crimes.
On the positive side, the number of murders in Grahamstown has decreased from 35 last year to 30 in the latest report. Over the past nine years stock theft has dropped from 150 cases to only 64 and drug-related crimes have more than halved in the same period.
There was a significant drop in the number of common assault cases, falling from 664 last year to 588 this year - but the number of assaults with intent to do grievous bodily harm increased from 664 to 679 in the space of one year.
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa released the annual stats highlighting improvements in national categories such as the decrease in contract crimes (3.5%), a decrease in the national reports of murder (3.1%) and a drop in the number of sexual offences (3.7%).
He acknowledged that the number of sexual offences “remains stubbornly high” and affirmed that “as government we are however, still concerned about the scourge of rape in our country. Rape decreased by 1,9% but it is unacceptably high. More resources and better training of police mechanisms are now being put in place”.