Living in a dangerous world

2014-09-20 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL had a story of hope to tell when the country’s crime statistics were released yesterday, but experts said there were still areas of concern and a new crime-fighting approach is needed.

KZN recorded a slight drop in contact crimes, including murder and sexual offences, while these rose nationally.

However, the province still recorded the most murders with 3 625 — equating to almost 10 people killed per day.

This figure gave KZN the fourth-highest murder rate (34,7 murders per 100 000 people), behind the Eastern Cape (52,1), Western Cape (48,3) and Northern Cape (37,7).

Limpopo (13,2) had the lowest murder rate in the country.

The release of statistics compiled by the police showcased significant dips including a 43% decline in truck hijacking, and reductions in carjacking and vehicle theft. Of concern were sharp rises in cash-in-transit heists and cases of aggravated robbery.

Gareth Newham, head of the Institute for Security Studies’ governance, crime and justice division, said the numbers were a stark reminder of how far South Africa still had to go to reduce violence and crime.

“A second consecutive year of increases in serious violent crime such as murder, attempted murder and aggravated robbery are of particular concern to all South Africans,” he said.

“Murder is up by five percent with an additional 809 murders. Robbery increases are particularly concerning. Home robbery is up 7,4%, with 1 334 more cases than the previous year. Business robbery is up by 13,7% with 2 238 more attacks, and car hijacking is up by 12,3% with 1 231 more attacks than occurred the previous year,” he said.

National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders spokesperson Jacques Sibomana said that South Africans felt unsafe, and positive statistics were cold comfort to victims. “It is not necessary to analyse each individual crime category because that is not how the mind of the public works, South Africans have a general and aggravated feeling of being unsafe.

“They know that they live in a dangerous environment. Whether at work, at play or at home, they are at risk of becoming a victim of crime at any time and at any place,” he said.

He said a solution to crime lay in a multi-faceted change. “We cannot continue doing the same thing; and change does not only lie in law enforcement.

“Every government department, corporate and civil society organisation is going to have to play their role in reducing crime. Agencies such as Nicro must be recognised and supported …”

Sibomana said work was needed to prevent crime through addressing early onset behaviours.

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