Thumbs-up for South Africa’s crime stats

9 September 2011

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 country’s 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 South Africa’s criminal justice system and improved policing.

Partnerships ‘bearing fruit’

Bacsa CEO Graham Wright said the 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.

Main opposition party the Democratic Alliance (DA) said that while it still needed to study the statistics more closely, the broadly positive trend was welcomed.

Rapes, drug-related crime ‘need more attention’

“The decrease in almost all crimes, including contact crimes such as murder, attempted murder and sexual offences is welcomed,” the DA’s shadow minister of police, Dianne Kohler Barnard, said.

“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.”

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.

Shock at increase in ATM bombings

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

However, the IFP expressed shock at massive increase in ATM bombings 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,” the party said.

“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.”

Less violent crime in SA

South Africa’s 2010/11 crime statistics reveal a decline in all types of “contact crime”, including murder, rape, assault with intent to do serious bodily harm, common assault, aggravated robbery and common robbery.

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

The biggest improvement was a significant decline in bank robberies, which decreased by a massive 58.1%, with just 39 cases recorded in 2010/11 compared to the 93 cases recorded in 2009/10.

Although the stats showed a general decrease in all crimes, Mthethwa said this was just a motivating factor for the police, and that the fight was far from over.

“Victory against crime is now an achievable goal. However, for as long as young children are still under bondage of crime and drugs, for as long as businesses are robbed, for as long as women are abused and raped, for as long as South Africans are mugged and hijacked – none of us must rest.”

Source: BuaNews