Crime stats: Call for more police for the poor as murder rate climbs

A group of demonstrators from the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) marched to Parliament during the release of the annual crime statistics on Tuesday to demand the equal allocation of police resources.

The group gathered outside Parliament while Police Minister Bheki Cele and national police commissioner Khehla Sitole announced the crime statistics.

READ: Murder by numbers: This is the rate of killing in SA

In terms of the statistics, South Africa's murder rate has increased by 6.9% and in the past year, 1 320 more people were murdered than in 2016/17.* Sitole also announced that there was a "deficit" of 62 000 SA Police Service (SAPS) members.

SJC secretary general Mandisa Dyantyi said the statistics reflected the current allocation of police resources, saying that poor black and coloured communities were discriminated against.

"If you look at Nyanga, 306 people have died in the past year alone," she said.

"If you look at the crime statistics in [upmarket neighbourhood] Claremont, you will see that they have more police resources than Nyanga. Nyanga needs more police resources."

The SJC's memorandum referred to the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry, which found that routine policing patrols were conducted in vehicles on paved roads and therefore informal settlements were not accessible by vehicle.

OVERVIEW: 'We haven't reached a state of lawlessness' in SA - Cele on 2017/2018 #CrimeStats

"The result, as one station commander admitted to the commission, is that the policing of informal neighbourhoods is 'neglected'. The commission considered it completely unacceptable that neighbourhoods where residents are vulnerable, are being largely overlooked by the SAPS," the memorandum said.

Dyantyi claimed that if police statistics were only released once a year, it meant police operations were not intelligence-based and that resources were not allocated according to need.

The SJC gave Cele and Sitole three months to respond to their demands, which include:

  • the release of quarterly station-level statistics,
  • the development of guidelines for the visible policing of informal settlements, and
  • the development of guidelines to assist provincial commissioners with the reallocation of resources

*Correction: A previous version of this article said that 1320 people were murdered in the past financial year. Rather, 1320 more people were murdered this year relative to last year. The total number of murders in 2017/18 was 20 336.

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