SA murder rate reflective of 'a war zone'

Pretoria - The murder rate in the country is reflective of a "war zone", Democratic Alliance MP Dianne Kohler Barnard said on Friday.

"We now have a second increase in two years in the murder rate," she told reporters at the SA Police Service Tshwane Training Academy following the release of the 2013/2014 crime statistics.

"We have 47 murders a day. That sort of figure is what one would expect in a war zone."

Kohler-Barnard said this year's statistics were almost back to the 2006 levels when there was a spike in the murder rate.

There had only been four increases in murder since the advent of democracy and two of them were under national police commissioner Riah Phiyega, she said.

800 more murders

"It is a terrible statistic and the fact that so many of the violent crimes are up so massively... is a very poor showing.

"I knew it would be bad, I felt it would be bad and all the predictions have come true."

Earlier, Phiyega announced that there had been 800 more murders since the 2012/2013 statistics.

Kohler-Barnard said the statistics were a reflection on former police minister Nathi Mthethwa.

"It's a very bad reflection and that's obviously why Nathi Mthethwa was shunted off to arts and culture and it's a very bad reflection on the current national police commissioner. Even though she is claiming something of a victory, it is most certainly not a victory."

Real-time crime stats

She said real-time crime statistics needed to be available at every police station and not just as an announcement once a year.

"What help is it to a home-owner to find out now that 18 months ago there was a massive increase in carjackings or house robberies in his area?"

Having real time statistics was the only way people could protect themselves, Kohler-Barnard said.

Institute for Security Studies senior researcher for crime and justice Johan Burger said the statistics proved what the institute had been saying for some time - that violent crimes would go up as well as murder and attempted murder.

"This means that we as South Africans have reason to feel less safe at the moment than we should be and this is because those crimes have directly affected us and our safety and security," he said.

Social conditions

Murder and attempted murder rates, which had increased, could be based on social conditions.

The increase in aggravated robbery and housebreakings affected how safe people felt.

"This is definitely not a good news story," Burger said.

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