‘Release crime stats frequently to establish trends’

2014-09-17 15:56

Crime statistics should be released more often with more detail, says the Institute for Security Studies.

“The more frequently released the better, the more detailed ... the better,” the institute’s spokesperson, Gareth Newham, said today.

“Crime has emerging trends and we can’t have a measure where you wait a year later to release them. It should be monitored monthly.”

Speaking ahead of the release of the 2013-2014 crime statistics on Friday, Newham said releasing statistics more frequently would make it easier to pick up crime trends.

The statistics should not be seen as police property, he said.

Newham said the South African Police Service could not “fix policing” on its own.

He said violence could be reduced by focusing on early childhood development.

“If you want to reduce violence, look at early childhood development ... That is a sustainable way to reduce violence,” said Newham.

“The nature of murder in South Africa is driven by socioeconomic conditions.”

Newham said crime statistics were not a direct reflection of police performance and that the police were “certainly working harder”.

“We have a shortage of social workers. The police can’t deal with the factors that lead to violence ... The police can’t fix policing on its own.”

He said the National Prosecuting Authority needed to finalise more cases.

Looking at the 2012-2013 figures, most violent crime categories in South Africa went up. Last year was the third time murder increased in 20 years.

According to the statistics from that year, the Eastern Cape had the highest murder rate, followed by the Western Cape, Free State, and the Northern Cape. Limpopo had the lowest murder rate.

Rural areas were more dangerous, Newham said.

In 80% of cases the victim knew the perpetrator.

Aggravated robbery had also gone up, as had business, house, and car robberies.

“There was a remarkable increase in business robberies, about a 300% increase,” he said.

“These crimes are largely syndicated. You need to identify the syndicates. Good crime intelligence is fundamental.”

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