Some crime increases good news - expert
Pretoria - Increases in drug-related crimes, possession of illegal firearms and driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs are actually good news, an expert said on Thursday.
"These are not indications of a problem getting worse, but means more police action is taking place," said Gareth Newham, head of the crime and justice programme at the Institute for Security Studies.
"Police themselves celebrate these increases."
Newham was speaking in Pretoria after the release of South Africa's annual crime statistics.
Drug-related crime increased 10.2% in the year under review - from April 2010 to March 2011. The number of crimes recorded in this category doubled in the last eight to nine years, said police head of crime research and statistics Chris de Kock.
"If you look at history, it's a constant line going up."
Newham said this was good news.
"It doesn't mean more drugs, it means police are arresting more drug dealers," he said.
Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs increased by 4.5% in the year under review, and 10.6% the year before.
However, the illegal possession of firearms decreased by 2%.
Newham said these three categories were all crimes detected as a result of police action.
Since 2003, some 70 000 more police posts had been created, which would have played a role in the improving figures, he said.