Quar­terly crime stats at last

CityPress - - Voices -

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But when the fig­ures were fi­nally re­leased, they were six months old and woe­fully out of date.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.

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