'Cautious optimism' over crime
Cape Town - South Africans have room to be cautiously optimistic following the release of the latest crime statistics showing incremental improvements across the board, the Democratic Alliance said on Thursday.
"Crime is something which affects each and every South African and a decrease in crime is obviously something to be welcomed," DA spokesperson Dianne Kohler-Barnard said.
South Africans had felt safer in the World Cup year than they had for some time.
When the stats for next year were released, the SA Police Service's special measures during the tournament might translate into even greater improvements.
The police force had made important strides, especially in contact crimes, Kohler-Barnard said.
In 2009/2010, 2.1 million crimes were reported. The murder rate was down by a significant 8.6% - the first time this decade the murder rate was below the 18 000 mark.
Attempted murder was down by 6.1%, robberies with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, and sexual offences were also down.
"Worryingly, residential burglaries have once again increased by 2.7%, having increased by 27% the previous year," she said.
This meant South Africans were less safe in their homes than the previous year.
The rate of increase in these crimes, as well as robberies at business premises, was a great deal lower than the previous financial year. However, the total continued to rise.
This was coupled with an unfortunate increase at business robberies, which were up by 4.4%, having increased by 41% the previous year.
"We commend all the brave men and women in the SAPS for their efforts to keep South Africa safe. We also proffer our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the 110 police officers who died in the course of duty," Kohler-Barnard said.
AfriForum said the satistics show a step in the right direction.
The organisation's head of community safety Nantes Kelder however expressed concerns about the increase in home robberies.
"One's home is the one place above all where you and your family should feel safe," he said in a statement.