‘Trio crime stats must fall’

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ct­ing Na­tional Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Kho­motso Phahlane has sum­moned 350 com­man­ders of po­lice sta­tions across the coun­try to a meet­ing to dis­cuss the on­go­ing scourge of il­le­gal guns and armed rob­beries, and how of­fi­cers can work to com­bat this. The meet­ing, which starts to­day in Mpumalanga, fol­lows the re­lease of na­tional crime sta­tis­tics cov­er­ing the last nine months of 2016 by the SA Po­lice Ser­vice (SAPS) in Par­lia­ment on Fri­day. This is the prov­ince where the largest crime in­crease was recorded.

The lat­est sta­tis­tics also re­vealed that al­though many crimes had de­creased be­tween April and De­cem­ber last year, armed rob­bery was up by 6.1%. Its sub­cat­e­gories – called “trio crimes” – in­clude house rob­bery, which rose by 5.3%; busi­ness rob­bery, which was up by 6.5%; and hi­jack­ings, which in­creased by a whop­ping 14.9%.

How­ever, fig­ures also re­vealed pos­i­tive news for South Africans, show­ing that gen­eral crime de­clined dur­ing the first three quar­ters of the 2016/17 fi­nan­cial year, com­pared with the same pe­riod in 2015.

Phahlane told City Press on Fri­day evening that he was unim­pressed with the fig­ures and had called on the 350 “po­lice gen­er­als” to don their think­ing caps and come up with what he called “last­ing so­lu­tions to ad­dress the prob­lem of trio crimes”.

The up­ward trend in trio crimes, he 0 0 said, was not new as fig­ures had shown an in­crease in pre­vi­ous years. “Def­i­nitely a re­sponse is re­quired from us. That is an area that we need to be work­ing very hard on,” he said. “Ob­vi­ously, these crimes are also an in­di­ca­tor of the avail­abil­ity of il­le­gal firearms, be­cause when car hi­jack­ings are be­ing com­mit­ted, firearms are in­volved. When rob­beries are be­ing com­mit­ted, firearms are be­ing used.” Phahlane said the pro­lif­er­a­tion of il­le­gal firearms was a se­ri­ous mat­ter and would fea­ture promi­nently on the meet­ing’s agenda. “We are meet­ing be­tween Sun­day and Tues­day,” he said. “This strat­egy ses­sion will bring to­gether ev­ery­one in the po­lice ser­vice who is called a gen­eral from across the coun­try. We will be look­ing at a plan for how to deal with [these] in­ci­dents of crime. This will be in­formed by our per­for­mance and our chal­lenges out there.” Phahlane at­trib­uted some of the SAPS’s achieve­ments in hav­ing re­duced crime to hard work by his team and pos­i­tive co­op­er­a­tion from the pub­lic. “If you look at the first quar­ter of the sta­tis­tics – from April to June 2016 – there were some in­creases in all cat­e­gories of crimes. But 0 from the sec­ond quar­ter, crime started com­ing down.

“I think we dealt with crime over the fes­tive sea­son through the op­er­a­tions that we con­ducted,” he said.

He at­trib­uted this crime re­duc­tion to max­i­mum vis­i­bil­ity and in­ten­si­fied op­er­a­tions. Po­lice had con­ducted sev­eral road blocks and were scat­tered across pub­lic ar­eas, in­clud­ing shop­ping cen­tres, over the fes­tive sea­son.

Phahlane is known for in­tro­duc­ing what he calls a “back-to­ba­sics ap­proach”, say­ing po­lice man­age­ment was reg­u­larly as­sess­ing and de­vel­op­ing strate­gies to in­ten­sify its op­er­a­tions, and that this led to “a 1.7% de­crease in crime in the sec­ond quar­ter and a fur­ther 5.3% in the third quar­ter, and that trend con­tin­ued with all other crimes”.

Al­though Phahlane was un­will­ing to sin­gle out po­lice sta­tions that had made a dif­fer­ence, say­ing the crime sta­tis­tics would not be de­tailed to sta­tion level, he did say Free State con­tin­ued to lead when it came to re­duc­ing crime. Lim­popo and North­ern Cape, which were the worst per­form­ing prov­inces in the pre­vi­ous fi­nan­cial year, also fared well.

Phahlane added that KwaZulu-Natal was among the top­per­form­ing prov­inces.

“Progress is be­ing made in Gaut­eng, East­ern Cape and Western Cape,” he said, but added that Mpumalanga and East­ern Cape re­mained prov­inces which showed an over­all in­crease in crime. TALK TO US Have you no­ticed an in­crease or de­crease in crime in your neigh­bour­hood? SMS us on 35697 us­ing the key­word CRIME and tell us what you think. Please in­clude your name and prov­ince. SMSes cost R1.50

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