Police need to do more - Phiyega

Cape Town - The journey in the fight against crime is a "long one" and police need to do more, says national commissioner Riah Phiyega.

Phiyega was speaking at a media briefing after the release of the annual crime statistics on Tuesday, which indicated that serious crimes – such as murder and aggravated robbery – were on the rise.

Murder

Nationally, the number of murders increased by 4.6% compared to the previous financial year.

Phiyega said illegal miners contributed a lot to the number of incidents, especially in Gauteng.

She also confirmed that children, age 10 to 17, had committed 49 murders. Those aged 18 to 35 were responsible for 884 murders in Gauteng.

The Northern Cape had the fewest murders, with 413 cases reported, a decrease of 5.5%.

Eight of the 10 policing precincts with the highest murder rates were in the Western Cape.

These were Nyanga, Gugulethu, Delft, Mfuleni, Khayelitsha, Harare, Kraaifontein and Mitchells Plain.

Hijack central

All types of hijackings increased in Gauteng. 

Nearly two-thirds of all truck hijackings - a total of 804 cases - took place in the province.

More than half - 53.4% - of all carjackings took place in Gauteng. The 6 867 cases reported represented a 13.4% increase year on year.

In the more sparsely populated Northern Cape only 15 cases of carjacking were reported. 

Politicians weigh in

The ANC's parliamentary chief whip Stone Sizani said the party was concerned by the increase in contact crimes and contact-related crimes, such as murder, attempted murder and arson.

"Violent attacks against our people, including killings of police officers, must be fought fiercely and aggressively as part of our endeavours to build safer communities," he said.

Perpetrators, Sizani said, had to be "squeezed completely out" of society.

Sizani welcomed the decrease in property-related and other serious crimes.

The DA said it was concerned that the murder rate had gone up for a third consecutive year, all under the tenure of Phiyega.

"The increase revealed today [Tuesday] means that the murder rate is up to 17 805, which means 49 South Africans are murdered each and every day," DA MP Dianne Kohler-Barnard said in a statement.

"This number of deaths is what one would expect from a country at war. This is catastrophic."

Bad cops

A total of 686 police officers were arrested for various crimes in the past financial year.

These officers did not have criminal records when hired, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko said.

According to Phiyega, the officers were fired and criminal and internal disciplinary processes were under way.

Media coverage

The media had a critical role in terms of spreading crime prevention awareness, but coverage of crimes such as mall robberies offered potential lessons for copycats, Phiyega said. 

During her presentation of the 2014/15 national crime statistics in Parliament, she had commented that the quantity of media coverage could have a "direct influence or breed further perpetration of crime".

She later clarified that reporting was a double-sided coin and there was a lot of good being done.


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