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Remarkable decline in crime across Eastern Cape during COVID-19 lockdown

Jun 3, 2020
Remarkable decline in crime across Eastern Cape during COVID-19 lockdown

Bhisho - The Eastern Cape Coronavirus Command Council on Tuesday welcomed news that there was a huge decline of crime in the province by 4 452 cases during levels 5 and 4 of the national lockdown, attributing this to the sterling work of the multi-agency safety and security workstream.

"The safety and security workstream is made up of South African Police Service, South African Defense Force, Traffic Management Services of the Provincial Department of Transport, Traffic Officers and municipal Officers of Municipalities,
South Africa State Security Agency," said spokesperson, Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha.

"During the covid19 national lockdown contact crimes declined by 2270 compared to the same period last year, contact-related crimes went down by 343 cases, property-related crimes went down by a sharp 858 cases, other serious crimes declined by 762 cases, trio crimes declined by 170.

"Reduction of crime was attributed to the effective enforcement of regulations by the government employees in the workstream, prohibition of sale and distribution of alcohol by the lockdown regulations during the lockdown."

Sicwetsha added that 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 with some thieves stealing from schools.

"During both Level 5 and Level 4, a spate of burglary cases at schools were opened; from 27 of March 2020 to 30 of April 2020; 124 Cases for School Burglaries were opened, 131 cases from the 1st of May 2020 to 31st of May 2020 were also opened," he said.

"Since Alert Level 3 of Lockdown was activated from the 01st of June 2020 to 02 June 2020 13 cases of burglary at schools were opened. Out of the total number of cases opened on Level 5 and Level 4, 48 arrests were made in 21 cases, 19 cases were finalised undetected and133 cases are still under investigation.

"Targeted items during these burglaries include groceries for School nutrition, IT equipment like computers and tablets as well as electric appliances, implements like lawn mowers and garden tools, water tanks, doors and windows."

Sicwetsha said that the Provincial Coronavirus Command Council also approved a proposal from the Workstream to improve coordination of the work of government departments and institutions, to procure technological equipment like drones, street cameras to improve community safety, implementation of safer cities and districts.

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 national government through the soldiers, the Police officers and the selfless contribution by all women and in men in uniform, especially the Traffic Officers," said Mabuyane.

"They protected many people from infections. Many of the people were fined and those fines were to keep them away from the roads. We managed to keep many people away from the roads, only allowing those who needed to leave their homes for essential services.” 

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.

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