July unrest pushes up Gauteng cases of arson, malicious damage to property

23 November 2021 - 16:44
Shops, malls and businesses were looted during the July unrest in KZN and Gauteng. File photo.
Shops, malls and businesses were looted during the July unrest in KZN and Gauteng. File photo.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

The July unrest was one of the main contributors to the increase in arson and malicious damage to property cases in Gauteng, the latest available crime stats show.

Arson cases increased by 5.3% and malicious damage to property by 8.1% compared to the same quarter last year.

“The unrest that occurred in July resulted in the increase in these two crimes as properties were damaged. We all witnessed the repercussions of the July unrest. Even though the recorded increases are single digits, everyone felt the impact.

“We have taken valuable lessons out of it and we can all agree that when we work together, we are able to overcome anything,” said Gauteng police commissioner Lt-Gen Elias Mawela.

Crime statistics for the second quarter 2021/2022 financial year — covering July to September — were presented to the Gauteng legislature’s portfolio committee on community safety by provincial police managers on Tuesday.

Mawela said property-related crimes decreased by 8.2%, translating to 1,908 fewer  registered than in the same quarter a year ago.

He said burglary at non-residential premises remained a problematic crime, recording an increase of 1.5% (49 more counts), an increase marginally lower than that in the current period.

“We will be addressing the burglary at non-residential premises with our partners in business. Two things must happen: an increase in police patrols in hotspot areas, and an  increase in security, physical or technological, by business owners.

“Hopefully these will score us an overall reduction in property-related crimes during the next reporting period.” 

Mawela said the 17 community-reported serious crimes, which are broken down into four categories — contact crimes, contact-related crimes, property-related crimes and other serious crimes — also indicated a decrease of 0.7% compared with 2020/21.

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