Annual National Crime Statistics Revealed
Media Release by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
Today, September 19, the National Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa, and National Commissioner, Riah Phiyega, released the annual crime statistics for the 2012/2013 financial year.
The statistics reveal that crimes affecting ordinary South Africans have increased on a national level. It is clear that efforts to combat crime will need to be improved and current crime fighting strategies reviewed.
While we are still analysing the Western Cape stats, I am concerned about the increase in the number of murders, attempted murder, drug crimes and house robberies in this province.
We know that alcohol abuse plays a major role in increased levels of violence and murder – the police need to close down the thousands of illegal shebeens as a matter of urgency. I have also repeatedly called on the SAPS to introduce specialised policing units to deal with gangs and drugs in the province.
I welcome Minister Mthethwa’s statements about the need to train additional public order police more effectively to prevent the increasing number of violent and illegal protests. While the public have a right to take part in peaceful protests in our democracy, there is no excuse to resort to violence and I look forward to Minister Mthethwa ensuring that the SAPS are adequately trained and resourced to deal effectively with illegal protestors.
I am disappointed that not enough has been done to bring down violence against women and children and the increase in the number of sexual offences reported. These are generally accepted as under-reported crimes. The conviction rates for these types of crime need to be increased to serve as a strong message and deterrent to these types of crime.
In order for crime statistics to be of real value to the people of the Western Cape (and South Africa), we need to see them on a monthly basis. This will allow all safety concerned roleplayers to allocate their resources to where they are most needed and support the South African Police Service (SAPS) in their fight against crime. Criminals adjust their behaviour to avoid being caught but communities could react appropriately and take the necessary preventative measures if they were aware of immediate shifts in crime patterns.
The Western Cape Government has no operational control over the Criminal Justice System, which is a national competency. We have, however, implemented various programmes and interventions aimed at improving the longer term socio-economic conditions of residents.
Some examples include:
- Passing the Community Safety Act to improve Police Oversight
- Establishing a Commission of Inquiry into Policing in Khayelitsha
- Transversal Violence Prevention Policy launched this week (full details in link below statement)
- Partnerships with the religious fraternity to provide youth safety interventions
- Partnerships with FET colleges to provide the school leaving youth in high crime areas with tertiary education opportunities
- The City of Cape Town’s numerous safety interventions include specialised law enforcement approaches to specific types of crimes and the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrade (VPUU)
For a full list of interventions please visit the links at the end of this statement.
In order to implement these programmes effectively, and assess the impact they are having on making communities safer, we cannot rely on 18-month old data and therefore call on the minister to release statistics more regularly.
The SAPS are adequately resourced – they have a bigger budget and more personnel than they have ever had – and they have the crime information available in real time. It is time that the SAPS start empowering our communities by sharing this information more regularly – by doing this the SAPS will be doubling their manpower.
Equally important is the reporting of crime. By not reporting crimes, the criminal justice system cannot do its work. It also means that we will not have an accurate picture of the level of specific crimes in a specific area. By communities playing their part, they can strengthen the value of more regular crime statistics being released.
The Department of Community Safety has an oversight role over the police and If anyone has a complaint about a member of SAPS refusing to open a case, they can report the matter via the Report-a-Cop programme on 021 483 4332, or SMS the word REPORT to x35395 and a department official will call back to collect the details, anonymously if needed.
The same needs to be said for police officers providing exceptional service – we want to hear about them so that they can acknowledged, so please SMS REWARD to x35395.
Spokesperson for Minister Plato
Cell: 072 623 4499