8 September 2011
Co-ordinated efforts by police and business saw bank robberies drop by a massive 58% over the last year, marking the biggest decline in South Africa’s generally improved crime statics for 2010/11.
Releasing the country’s annual crime statistics in Pretoria on Thursday, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said there were just 39 bank robberies in 2010/11 compared to the 93 cases recorded in 2009/10.
The minister attributed the success to coordinated efforts between police and businesses.
Cash-in-transit heists also declined significantly, by 18.7%, which Mthethwa attributed to the arrest of key criminals involved in bank and cash-in-transit robberies, coupled with the police’s rapid response.
Allowing photographs of criminals wanted for these crimes to be published had also led to arrests and contributed to the decrease.
ATM bombings up 61.5%
However, Mthethwa expressed concern over ATM bombings, which had increased by 61.5%.
Most of these blasts took place in Gauteng province, which accounted for 57.1% for ATM bombings, followed by North West province with 12.4%.
“Some of these trends are informed by migration and displacement of crime from one province to another, but we are beginning to intensify our operations in some of these hard-hit provinces,” he said.
Despite the massive increase in ATM bombings, the minister noted that there were also some successes.
“According to the South African Banking Risk Information Centre, this form of crime has started to decline, with a 17% decline in ATM robberies since April 2011 compared with the same period last year.”
The crime statistics also indicated a 2.8% increase in commercial crime ratio.
The minister noted that commercial crime was not only a South African problem but a global challenge, adding that the police hoped to partner with their international counterparts to improve their methods of tackling such crime locally.