Crime findings 'won't change'

2009-07-08 19:24

Johannesburg - The alleged fudging of crime statistics by some police stations will not significantly impact a finding regarding which provinces are the safest, the SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) said on Wednesday.

"It is not a good thing, but it would not have a very great impact on overall statistics of crime," said SAIRR spokesperson Kerwin Lebone.

He said Professor Johan Burger of the Institute for Security Studies had pointed out it would have a minimal impact on categories like theft, common street robbery and aggravated robbery, where hundreds of thousands of cases are reported.

Socio-economic factors

The report compared various socio-economic factors like demographics, living conditions, health and crime of the country's nine provinces to determine if wealth influences crime rates.

Researchers found that Limpopo had the lowest crime rate, even though it also had the lowest average household income.

The Sunday Times reported that the Independent Complaints Directorate was investigating Pietermaritzburg's Mountain Rise police station for allegedly stockpiling and destroying dockets, after it jumped from 40th position to the province's top performing station in a year.

The ministry of police followed up by announcing on Wednesday it would charge a police commissioner at the station with corruption and defeating the ends of justice in connection with these allegations.

This followed a recommendation by the ICD.

According to the Sunday Times report, at least five stations in the Western Cape, four in Gauteng and one in KwaZulu-Natal were implicated in alleged manipulation of statistics by burning dockets, ditching dockets of crimes on the increase, and not wanting to open a docket for a case unlikely to be solved.

Rapes 'reported as inquiries'

In June, provincial safety MEC Lennit Max claimed that 56 rape cases in and around Paarl had not been registered as criminal cases on the police's database, but only as inquiries.

The SAIRR concluded that the Western Cape, with the highest average annual household income, emerged with the worst rates for murder, business burglary and residential burglary.

"Between 1994 and 2008, the Western Cape's murder, aggravated robbery, and residential burglary rates increased the most out of all provinces," said the SAIRR's publication "Fast Facts".

It continued: "By March 2009, the Western Cape had the second highest number of police officials for the population, at one police official for every 300 people, while Limpopo had the lowest number of police officials for the population at one police official for every 528 people."