Violent crimes on the increase

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Mariné Jacobs

Police statistics show that contact crime committed in Bloemfontein is becoming increasingly violent.  The community of Bloemfontein was shaken to its core last week at the news that an elderly man was murdered and his wife stabbed several times during a house robbery in Heuwelsig. Gordon Bazzard (75) was stabbed to death while his wife, Annette (67), sustained stab wounds to her neck and body.

This barely a week after another Bloemfontein couple was brutally assaulted when robbers broke into their house in Bainsvlei. Elsa Kolver’s eye had to be removed after one of the intruders pressed the barrel of a gun into her eye, her teeth were knocked out and her jaw and leg broken. Her husband Pieter was shot twice and his legs, his skull, his ribs and his nose was broken during the assault.
In both these crimes the robbers broke through strong security gates to gain entry into the house – and both these crimes were inhumanely violent and brutal. “We are experiencing a recent increase in contact crimes where excessive and violent force is used by the intruders during incidents of house robberies as compared to last year,” says SAPS spokesperson Chaka Marope. According to him, the police’s crime threat analysis shows an increase of crime in three categories – housebreaking, theft out of motor vehicles and robberies. “On average per month we recorded between 50 and 80 of the aforementioned crimes,” explains Marope.

Mangaung police responded swiftly to both cases. Two suspects were arrested for the Kolver assault within a week, while the two suspects allegedly involved in the Bazzard case were arrested mere hours after the break-in. “Indeed it was an excellent and swift response by our members,” says Marope. “It was also due the implementation of strategic plans of our provincial commissioner.”
While many rely on police services to keep them safe, others have taken their security into their own hands. Jenny Vorster, suburb manager of the Fichardtpark Suburb Association, says an organisation that looks after the safety of the suburb has become vital. “In Vredekloof in Cape Town they have a similar suburb organisation and there they didn’t have any criminal activities for 60 days,” says Vorster. “Everywhere where people have these types of organisations, crime has gone down. Apart from the crime rate decreasing, the value of the properties increases because it is a safer suburb to live in.” (Read more about this association on page 2).

What do you think can or should be done to prevent becoming a victim of a violent crime? Let us know at info@bloemfonteincourant.co.za.