POLICE Minister Nathi Mthethwa on Thursday reported a mixed bag of results in the government’s attempts to reduce crime in South Africa.
Official crime statistics for the year to March show an increase in the number of suspects arrested and convicted.
In this period‚ significant inroads were made into reducing crimes such as bank robberies and cash-in-transit robberies‚ but the types of crime that most concern people‚ such as residential burglaries‚ robberies and hijackings‚ increased.
According to Mr Mthethwa‚ robberies at residential properties have increased 69.8% over the past nine years.
Over the past four years‚ house robberies had shown a 9.5% decrease but in the year under review this trend reversed to an increase of 3.6%. Burglaries at residential and nonresidential properties showed an increase of 3.3% and 1.7%‚ respectively.
Car hijackings also increased during the year‚ by 5.4%‚ though levels were down 27.6% over nine years.
Police had success in reducing contact and contact-related crimes‚ which were down 4.2% and 4.3%‚ respectively‚ over the year.
One of the successes of the year was in reducing bank robberies‚ which were down 80%. Mr Mthethwa said this was the result of a number of measures taken by police‚ such as sharing intelligence with the banking industry and having dedicated prosecutors.
"There have been swift arrests of kingpins and keeping them in custody‚” he said.
South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) CEO Kalyani Pillay said the downward trend was proof of the commitment shown by dedicated police officers working in collaboration with banks‚ cash-in-transit companies and Sabric.
The murder rate remained stable‚ showing a slight increase of 0.6%. "We will work doubly hard to ensure this slight increase is rerouted to the downward trends that we experienced over the past nine years‚” Mr Mthethwa said.
Attempted murder also showed a marginal increase. According to Mr Mthethwa there were various reasons for this that were often province-specific‚ such as labour unrest in the mining sector of the North West.
Institute for Security Studies analyst Gareth Newham said the increase in serious and violent crime showed the government’s approach to crime was not working.
"After a long period of decreases in serious and violent crime‚ these are the worst figures we have seen in 10 years‚” he said. "We have seen increases in murder‚ attempted murder‚ car hijacking‚ street robbery and house robbery. These are some of the crimes South Africans are most afraid of.”
Mr Mthethwa said that whatever the difficulties and hurdles faced over the past year‚ he believed the South African Police Service would succeed in reducing the overall crime rate.
"However improbable it may sound to the sceptics‚ success is guaranteed‚” he said. - © BDlive 2013