Quarterly crime stats at last
It was a September ritual. News editors would be glued to their inboxes, waiting for the announcement of the date on which the crime statistics would be released. It would be an event packed with pomp, fronted by the police minister and whatever general was in charge, at pains to explain to the people why crime was up or down in their neighbourhoods.
But when the figures were finally released, they were six months old and woefully out of date.
The reason? Because crime stats, ANC leaders said, were a stick opposition parties and news organisations used to beat the government.
On Thursday, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe announced at a post-Cabinet briefing that crime statistics would be released every quarter. These quarterly reports would be supplemented with one annual comprehensive report from the police. This, he said, would allow government to respond to crime trends faster and contribute to the aim of the National Development Plan to build safer communities.
This is what we have been asking for all along, and government has finally come to its senses. If the information trickles down to station level and is properly updated, people will have better insight into what is happening in their neighbourhoods.