SA police applauded for drop in crime

21 September 2012

South Africa’s police have been commended for their intelligence gathering and partnerships with business and society, which contributed to the decrease in crimes such as car hijackings and bank robberies in 2011/12.

Speaking to SAnews following the release of the national crime statistics on Thursday, Dr Hamadziripi Tamukamoyo, a researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, noted the decline in crimes such as car hijackings, bank robberies, ATM bombings and cash-in-transit heists.

Dealing with crimes like these required intelligence gathering and sharing of information between stakeholders, Tamukamoyo said. “In that regard we can commend the police.”

Business robberies ‘worrying’

Tamukamoyo pointed out, however, that the rise in business robberies, by 7.5%, was worrying. He said small businesses were a major source of employment for the poor. However, some could not afford the necessary security to protect themselves and would find it hard to grow if they became the targets of robbers.

He added that while it was good that there was a new strategy to deal with business robberies, the success of the strategy would rely on its implementation.

Earlier, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa announced that a strategy was being finalised to combat robberies at small businesses. He said there would be engagement, through the civilian secretariat of police, with the relevant parties to ensure the implementation of the strategy soon.

Tamukamoyo said he hoped that in future the country’s crime statistics would be more detailed and released on a more regular basis.

Call to fight ‘scourge of drugs’

Meanwhile, Crime Line has welcomed the drop in certain categories of crime, but said that the rise in drug-related crimes, by 15.6%, was a big concern.

“The latest statistics echo our call for a renewed and multi-partner effort to fight the scourge of drugs in communities,” said Crime Line co-ordinator Marisa Oosthuizen.

“Crime Line is currently working on a large-scale campaign to bring the relevant stakeholders together to actively fight the scourge.”

Plenty of work still to be done: Mthethwa

Police Minister Mthethwa called on Thursday for more action and less talk in the fight against crime.

Although the national crime statistics for 2011/12 showed a decrease in most crime categories, Mthethwa said there were still areas of concern and more hard work to be done.

“There will always be disappointment in the fight against crime as long as you have crime in the country, as long as from a perception point of view people don’t feel safe.

“This is a road that is always under construction,” Mthethwa said. “There will never be a situation … where we will say we have arrived in terms on fighting crime, so it’s an ongoing struggle.”

But progress had been made, the minister said. This was evident in the decline in murder, contact crimes, organised crime, ATM bombing and other categories of crime.

“We are not there yet, but with the participation of all sectors, we are turning the tide against crime. We must win the battle against crime, in whatever form it manifests itself.”

The minister said he wanted more success, particularly with sexual offences and rapes, which were worryingly high despite a 3.7% and 1.9% decrease respectively.

These crimes affected the most vulnerable – women and children – and more effort needed to be made to stamp them out, he said.