According to statistics released by the Minister of Police, Nathi Nhleko, and reported in Talk of the Town (8 September 2016), crime statistics for 2015/16 show that ‘crime is escalating all around the country’. As far is Kenton is concerned, the report stated that ‘Burglary at residential properties was slightly lower than last year’s figure of 742 with 735 cases’ (ie drop of less than 1%) over the period May 2015 to June 2016.

In the weeks prior to that report, KOSRA received a letter from Kenton Neighbourhood Reaction Group (KNRG) which alleged that the group, acting in conjunction with Hi Tec and the SAPS, had together brought ‘crime down by 110%’.

After investigation and comment from Captain Canon of the SAPS Kenton, Jan Nel and Chris Barnard from Hi Tec and Dorothy Cohead from the Community Policing Forum, KOSRA can corroborate the following allegations:

Crime for December 2105-January 2016 holiday period was down by some 80% over the previous season. The decrease over the Easter period was slightly higher at 85%. KNRG added its muscles to street patrols at night during holiday periods.

Jan Nel, Chris Barnard and Dorothy Cohead all point out that percentages can be misleading. For example, if there was only one incident of housebreaking over Easter last year and there was none this year then the drop in crime would be 100%. In addition, much depends on exactly what statistics are collected and for whom, exactly which areas they cover and exactly what periods they compare. Hi Tec’s incident book deals with calls from its clients. The police stats for ‘Kenton’ include townships and areas not patrolled by Hi Tec for its clients in conjunction with KNRG. Chris Barnard adds that if the Dept of Correctional Services releases prisoners you can be sure that no matter who patrols what, the incidents of crime will go up. He obtains lists from that Department so that Hi Tec can be on the lookout for the recidivists.

However, there can be no doubt that property crime (ie burglaries, theft in and out of motor vehicles, theft, shop lifting and fraud) in the Kenton has dropped ‘significantly’ according to statistics gathered by the Kenton Police Station. Dorothy Cohead asserts that ‘Kenton’s crime protection agencies are doing a magnificent job’.

Chris Barnard, who manages the control room at Hi Tec, maintains that another vital element is what householders do to protect themselves. ‘If you are working at the back of your house, lock up the front of your house.’ The best way to bring down property theft is to be vigilant about preventing opportunistic theft from your home yourself.

Glenda Webster

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