1 000 crimes at venues

Johannesburg – Nearly 1 000 crimes, mainly thefts and muggings, took place in and around stadiums on match days during the World Cup, South Africa's police minister said on Thursday.

A total of 290 incidents were reported to police inside the 10 venues of the month-long tournament while a further 704 were recorded as having taken place within a 1.5km radius outside the grounds, said Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

The rampant crime rate in South Africa, where around 50 people are murdered every day, was a major concern in the build-up to the tournament and had prompted accusations that the country was an unsuitable host for the world's most popular sporting event.

But 44 000 extra police were recruited for the tournament, mostly on patrol around the grounds and fan parks, and helped prevent any killings of supporters.

The minister said that 1 779 crimes were recorded in and around the fan parks where around 1.2 million fans were able to watch matches on giant television screens.

"We must agree that these figures are very heartening and reflect exceptionally well on the security forces and the people of South Africa," said Mthethwa.

Police also made 447 arrests, of which 266 were South Africans and 181 were foreign nationals.
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