GEORGE NEWS - Compared to last year's national crime statistics, murders and most contact crimes have shown a decrease in the George area (George, Conville, Thembalethu and Pacaltsdorp) this year.
However, petty theft and constant burglaries at businesses in the area have caused many business owners endless headaches.
The SA crime statistics for the 2019/2020 financial year were released by Police Minister Bheki Cele last week. This was done ahead of the usual date in September as the police intend publishing the stats on a quarterly basis in future.
Although the murder rate across the country remained stable at 36 per 100 000 people, and there was a significant drop in a number of other categories of violent crime, the picture is far from rosy. The most murders were recorded in KwaZulu-Natal, which recorded a 10% year-on-year increase, followed by Gauteng and Western Cape.
In George, murders were three less than in the 2018/2019 financial year. In Pacaltsdorp the murder rate showed a drop of 53,3% with seven murders compared to last year's 15. Thembalethu showed a 20,5% decrease with 35 cases compared to last year's 45 and Conville recorded two cases less than last year's 19.
Sexual offences in the area showed an overall decrease, except for George precinct that had a minimal increase of two reported cases.
In Conville, 28 fewer rape cases were reported than last year's 84 - a decrease of 33,3%. Thembalethu recorded 17 less (14,2%) rapes than last year's 120 and Pacaltsdorp showed a decrease of 27,7% (34 compared to last year's 47).
The contact crimes category (crimes against a person) showed a decrease in Pacaltsdorp with 22 less than last year's 628, Thembalethu with 45 less cases than last year's 1 199 and Conville with 1 193 cases as opposed to last year's 1 218.
George, however, recorded 54 more cases (979) of contact crimes (murder, sexual offences, attempted murder, assault, robbery etc.) than last year's 925.
Business break-ins have increased and all four police stations in the area show an increase in burglary at non-residential premises.
In Pacaltsdorp five more cases (54) were reported. In George there were 10 more cases, in Conville there were 13 more than last year's 127 and Thembalethu showed an increase of 19,4% - 14 more cases than last year's 72.
George showed a significant increase of theft from a motor vehicle with 79 more cases than last year's 402. Thembalethu had 104 cases compared to 61, while the two other stations reported a combined decrease of 47 cases.
Drug-related crimes showed an overall decrease in the area, but driving under the influence is up by 7,6% in George. However, in Thembalethu this figure decreased by 56,6% with 119 reported cases this year compared to 274 last year. Conville reported 29 fewer drunk drivers than last year and Pacaltsdorp reported 192 compared to last year's 230.
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