The Eastern Cape Coronavirus Command Council has welcomed a decline in the province’s crime rate in the province by 4452 cases during levels 5 and 4 of the national lockdown, attributing this to the work of the multi-agency safety and security workstream.
The safety and security workstream is made up of South African Police Service, South African Defence Force, Traffic Management Services of the Provincial Department of Transport, Traffic Officers and municipal Officers of Municipalities and the State Security Agency.
The Council said during the Covid-19 national lockdown, contact crimes had declined by 2270 compared to the same period last year. Ccontact related crimes went down by 343 cases, property related crimes went down by a sharp 858 cases, other serious crimes declined by 762 cases and trio crimes (carjacking, residential robbery and non-residential robbery) declined by 170.
The reduction of crime was attributed to the effective enforcement of regulations by the government employees in the workstream, as well as the prohibition of sale and distribution of alcohol during the lockdown.
In the report submitted by the safety and security workstream to the Command Council, incidents of stock theft, business robbery were on the rise during lockdown, as criminals looking for alcohol beverages broke into outlets selling alcohol.
Empty schools were also targeted during this period. During both level 5 and level 4, a spate of burglary cases at schools was opened. From 27 March 2020 to 30 April 2020, 124 cases for school burglaries were opened, with an additional 131 cases from 1-31 May 2020 opened.
Since Alert Level 3 of lockdown was activated from 1 June 2020 to 2 June 2020, 13 cases of burglary at schools were opened.
In the cases opened on Level 5 and Level 4, 48 arrests were made in 21 cases, 19 cases were finalised undetected and 133 cases are still under investigation.
Targeted items during these burglaries include groceries for school nutrition programmes, IT equipment such as computers and tablets, as well as electrical appliances, implements such as lawn mowers and garden tools, water tanks, doors and windows.
The Provincial Coronavirus Command Council approved a proposal from the workstream to improve coordination of the work of government departments and institutions, and to procure technology such as drones and street cameras to improve community safety.
Chairperson of the Provincial Coronavirus command council, who is also the Premier of the Eastern Cape Province, Lubabalo Oscar Mabuyane welcomed the report from the safety and security workstream.
“We welcome the work done by the law enforcement agencies who worked together with the people of our province to protect our people from being infected by the virus. We appreciate the contribution by… the police officers and the selfless contribution by all women and in men in uniform, especially the traffic officers.
“They protected many people from infection,” Mabuyane said. “Many people were fined and those fines were to keep them away from the roads.”
Mabuyane said the provincial government will continue to ensure enforcement of the alert level three regulations in the province to tackle the spread of the virus.