Police deserve credit for lower crime stats – institute

2011-09-08 11:44

Police and communities deserve credit for a decrease in the country’s crime rate, the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has said.

“But what the statistics don’t reveal is the grim reality of many serious and often hidden crimes such as domestic violence, child abuse, hate crimes and corruption,” head of the ISS crime and justice programme Gareth Newham said in a statement.

“It is important that the SAPS further improve its method of collecting and reporting on these crime statistics.”

If better data was obtained about these crimes, they could be addressed more effectively, he said.

The ISS was reacting to the release of the annual crime statistics by police minister Nathi Mthethwa in Pretoria this morning.

Mthethwa said South Africa’s murder rate dropped by 6.5% to 15 940 murders in 2010/11 compared with the previous period, and attempted murder decreased by 12.2%.

Though there was a decrease in sexual offences by 3%. Mthethwa said this was “an area that still required focused attention”.

The number of reported rapes rose from 55 097 to 56 272. Rape, based on international trends, was often under-reported, he said.

Newham said though there was a decrease, violent crimes such a murder, attempted murder and assaults were an ongoing trend in South Africa that started in 2003.

“There are no simple reasons for the reduction in these types of crime. It is not simply because of the World Cup, or because we have more police officials,” said Newham.

“The reasons are most likely to be found in a careful analysis of local socioeconomic factors.”Reducing crime in the long run was not just about policing and the criminal justice system.

There needed to be more focus on tackling poverty and inequality, he said.

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