Crime stats a cold comfort - DA

2012-09-20 17:34

Cape Town - A "minuscule" decrease in crime is no indication that the government is doing everything it can to keep South Africans safe, the DA said on Thursday.

"These incremental changes are cold comfort to law-abiding citizens who live in fear of criminals," said Democratic Alliance spokesperson Dianne Kohler Barnard.

She was responding to the 2011/12 crime statistics released by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa at Parliament.

Kohler-Barnard said four key crime categories - murder, sexual offences, aggravated robbery, and residential robbery - showed an average decrease of only 1.43%, compared to 5.7% last year.

"Virtually no decrease [only 0.26%] was experienced in 'aggravated robbery', compared to a 10.8% decrease in this category last year," she said.

Murder dropped by just 3.1% - with 15 609 citizens murdered last year.

'Manipulation of statistics'

Besides the distinct lack of progress in these serious crime categories, the DA had grave concerns about "the manipulation of statistics to paint a rosy picture".

Certain categories of crime, such as domestic violence, gang-related violence, and violent public protests had been absorbed into larger categories "in an effort to hide the real situation on the ground", she said.

"For example, domestic violence is subsumed under common assault and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

"This makes it difficult to determine the precise number of domestic violence incidents which occur, and whether we are winning the fight against domestic abuse."

As ever, the DA had questions about the validity and reliability of the crime statistics.

"National police commissioner Riah Phiyega admitted [on Thursday] that there is no independent audit of the statistics.

Independent body

"This means that we can’t determine whether the procedure followed in collating the statistics is valid."

It was time for an independent body to take control of the crime statistics away from the police, Kohler Barnard said.

The latest statistics were also up to 18-months-old. The DA wanted to see real-time crime statistics made available to the public at station level.

This would not only give the public information on the nature and extent of crime in their areas, but would also allow the SA Police Service to tailor local responses relevant to present-day realities.

Mthethwa and Phiyega should not pat themselves on the back for "meagre progress".

"South Africans will certainly not feel any safer as a result of these crime statistics," she said.

  • nicolas.gombert.16 - 2012-09-20 17:49

    With the ever increasing SAPS budget and a 30% increase in the number of members since 2010, one has to question whether our current policing is remotely successful or whether crime has merely stabilised. For all these extra resources, they can only show a 1.43% decrease in serious crimes. We need some serious rethinking on the SAPS, it is simply NOT effective, let alone efficient. It is internally focused, lacks vision and direction and is riddled with fat, lazy, ill-disciplined, corrupt members, as I cannot dare to call them policemen, as they are a disgrace to the SAPS.

      Klaus - 2012-09-20 17:58

      30% increase in Management and associated fees, increase in intelligence ?

      bobo.jane.1 - 2012-09-20 20:09

      CPF`s ouround the country is working their @sses off assisting the good cops for no compensation at all, then running the risk (As it happened in the past verry often) of being intimidated/falsley arrested/ and in some cases even just disapeared...These police stats is NOT a true reflection of what really is going on. There is still a police monitoruim on the release of crime stats every month in every province -Who are they trying to fool ....

      megala.arxithia - 2012-09-21 10:23

      More cops means nothing in this country. Police training is just one year and then off to the police stations to fight crime. Quantity does not relate to more quality.

  • Martin522 - 2012-09-20 18:03

    I just wonder how much of these statistics are even true.

      koos.meyer.52 - 2012-09-20 19:45

      Nice when you report your own figures, you not going to report bad figures knowing you will be in for a klap???

  • Madhi - 2012-09-20 21:17

    Bring back death penalty for murderers, drug dealers, serial rapists and child killers. 99% of those who are executed will be guilty and the 1% are guilty by association and we can just ask God to forgive us for being human and bless their soles. Otherwise, hang them morons.

  • cindy.wrathex.ruthven - 2012-09-20 21:45

    I would like to know how many crime dockets are not counted because of administrative error by officers of the law. I would also like to know how the statistics is audited and by whom. This above information should be transparent and easily available for citizens to consult. The statistics does not seem right in comparison with previous years, population growth and crime as experienced on the ground by the population. I am very suspicious of these figures.

  • NotBlackEnough - 2012-09-20 22:25

    Not 1 Not 16 Not 160 Not 1600 But 16000 Murders!!!! And this "PRIMATE" Minister of Safety & Security still holds his Job?

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