Crime stats get the thumbs up

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pretoria - Political parties and business organisations have welcomed the significant decrease in most categories of crime, announced by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa at the release of the annual crime statistics on Thursday.

While they welcomed the significant decreases in some crimes, the groups also called on government not to relent in the fight against crime.

Business against Crime SA (Bacsa) was among the first organisations to respond to the statistics, saying the drop in serious crime was the consequence of systematic improvements in the criminal justice system and improved policing.

Bacsa CEO Graham Wright said government's partnerships with both civil society and business had also had an impact on crime.

While he acknowledged that much still needed to be done, Wright said it was clear the country was moving in the right direction.

Systematic improvements in visible policing, crime detection and response, and steps by business to improve security, had a direct impact on the level of business robberies and burglaries, he added. 

The Democratic Alliance said while it still needed to study the statistics more closely, the broadly positive trend was welcomed.

"The decrease in almost all crimes, including contact crimes such as murder, attempted murder and sexual offences is welcomed. However, the fact that rape is up to over 56 000 rapes per annum, added to a massive increase in ATM bombings - some 61.5% - is of concern," the DA's Shadow Minister of Police, Dianne Kohler Barnard, said.

She also called for more attention to be given to drug related crime and drunk driving, both of which had increased.

"All the brave men and women in SAPS must be commended for their efforts to keep South Africa safe. These results show that their efforts can and do achieve results," Barnard added.

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) said the statistics showed that South Africa was slowly making headway in successfully dealing with the country's high crime levels.

The decrease in the murder rate, as well as the decline in car-jackings, attempted murder and house burglaries was welcomed progress, it added.

However, the IFP expressed shock at massive increase in ATM robberies and called on government to urgently create a plan of action to deal with this crime.

"Despite the improvements in our crime levels, our war against crime is far from over. South Africa's crime levels remain high. One person raped, assaulted, hijacked or murdered is one too many. We must continue to intensify our fight against the lawless elements within our society, and we are hopeful that next year's figures will show more significant reductions in all levels of crime," it added.

Crime statistics for the 2010/11 financial year revealed that all seven categories of contact crime with reference to murder, attempted murder, sexual offences and assault with serious grievous bodily harm, common assault, aggravated robbery and common robbery, had recorded a decline.

Murder was down by 6.5% and sexual offences by 3.1%. Assault with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm dropped by 4.5%, while robbery with aggravating circumstances was down by 12%.

In other categories the data also showed a general, except for the drug-related crimes which increased 10.2% in the year under review. Drunken driving cases were also up by 3.5%. 

But the biggest improvements noted in the crime statics was a significant decline in bank robberies which decreased by a massive 58.1%, with just 39 cases recorded in the 2010/11 fiscal year, as opposed to the 93 cases recorded in the 2009/2010 financial year. - BuaNews

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