Police website slow on crime stats

2012-09-20 21:35
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa announces the latest crime statistics at Parliament in Cape Town. (GCIS, Sapa)

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa announces the latest crime statistics at Parliament in Cape Town. (GCIS, Sapa)

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Cape Town - Presenting the annual crime statistics on Thursday, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa quoted Italian mathematician and astronomer Galileo Galilei.

"All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them... Facts, which at first seem improbable will, even on scant explanation, drop the cloak which has hidden them and stand forth in naked and simple beauty," he told reporters in Cape Town.

But it was more than three hours after the start of the 10:00 briefing on Thursday before the actual crime figures - as opposed to the percentages presented - stood forth in simple if not naked beauty on the SA Police Service's website.

Earlier, Gauteng Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Mzwandile Petros, in his capacity as head of the SAPS' crime statistics research task team, gave an overview of crime in South Africa, across all categories.

But this involved percentages and included few actual figures.

Pushed to give these, both Petros and Mthethwa referred journalists to the police website.

The only actual totals presented at the briefing were for five serious crime categories.

These included the total number of murders (15 609), attempted murders (14 859), assaults grievous bodily harm (192 651), common assaults (181 670) and sexual offences (64 514) that occurred during the period 1 April 2011 to 31 March this year.

"All other [actual] figures are on the website... you will get them [there]. In terms of crimes and which [police] stations, that information is available on the website," Mthethwa said.

The figures finally appeared on the site just before 13:30.

The minister had several reporters scratching their heads over an unintentional remark he made at the briefing.

Noting that the figures he was releasing showed "a trend where young children are now being targeted and abused", Mthethwa went on to say: "We shall be intensifying the war against young children to ensure that this trend is reversed."

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