ARE WE LOS­ING THE FIGHT AGAINST CRIME?

What will be done to re­verse the trend?

Post - - Front Page - JO­LENE MARRIAH

AS CRIME-weary South Africans di­gest the news that mur­ders, home in­va­sions and hi­jack­ings are ris­ing, the ques­tion on ev­ery­one’s minds is when will the gov­ern­ment and polic­ing author­i­ties try to re­verse the alarm­ing trend?

Po­lice Min­is­ter Nathi Nh­leko yesterday (Tues­day) re­leased crime sta­tis­tics for 2014/15 that show there were 782 more mur­ders com­mit­ted across the coun­try – a 4.6% in­crease – than in the pre­vi­ous re­port­ing pe­riod.

A to­tal of 17 805 peo­ple were killed in South Africa be­tween April 1, 2014 and March 31, 2015.

Brief­ing Par­lia­ment’s port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on po­lice, na­tional po­lice com­mis­sioner Gen­eral Riah Phiyega re­vealed that 49 of the mur­ders in the past fi­nan­cial year were com­mit­ted by chil­dren, while 884 of the killings were per­pe­trated by youths aged be­tween 18 and 25.

Phiyega said they took a closer look at the mur­der rate in KwaZulu-Natal as a case study.

“Dur­ing the re­port­ing pe­riod, we found that 61% of the mur­ders oc­curred over week­ends, and 40% be­tween 6pm and 12pm (in KZN),” she said.

“It is also dis­turb­ing to note, on av­er­age we record 11 mur­ders per day, but 55 mur­ders were re­ported on Christ­mas day, and 54 mur­ders on New Year’s Day (in KZN).”

Car hi­jack­ings na­tion­ally in­creased by 14.2% with 1 593 more hi­jack­ings re­ported.

There were also al­most 1 000 more home in­va­sions, with house rob­beries (where peo­ple are present) in­creas­ing by 5.2% na­tion­ally.

And while there has been a de­crease in cer­tain se­ri­ous crimes in­clud­ing mur­der and house rob­beries in ar­eas such as Chatsworth, Phoenix and Pi­eter­mar­itzburg, the drop has been min­i­mal.

In Dur­ban North, Sy­den­ham, Veru­lam, and oThon­gathi (Ton­gaat) there has been a spike in mur­ders.

Sy­den­ham had seven house rob­beries in the 2013/4 re­port­ing pe­riod and 71 dur­ing 2014/5.

House rob­beries in Westville tre­bled, from 21 to 69.

Af­ter the num­ber of hi­jack­ings in Isipingo de­creased last year, they spiked once again, from 81 cases to 110.

In Chatsworth, hi­jack­ings in­creased from 113 to 188.

The town­ship also had al­most 1 000 house bur­glar­ies, an in­crease from the pre­vi­ous pe­riod.

In Ton­gaat, which was seen as the crime hot spot last year, most crimes, ex­cept mur­der, had de­creased.

There were 6 306 more dru­gre­lated crimes re­ported na­tion­ally dur­ing 2014/15, tak­ing the num­ber to 266 902.

At­tempted mur­der and rob­bery with ag­gra­vated cir­cum­stances had spiked and truck hi­jack­ing had in­creased by 29.1%.

One of the crimes which saw a de­crease was driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence on al­co­hol and drugs, which dropped by 1.7%. There were 1 164 fewer cases re­ported.

The num­ber of sex­ual of­fences cases re­ported na­tion­ally de­creased by 5.4% with al­most 3 000 fewer cases than the pre­vi­ous pe­riod.

Nh­leko said that over­all con­tact crimes – in­clud­ing mur­der, at­tempted mur­der, as­sault and rob­bery with ag­gra­vat­ing cir­cum­stances – had in­creased by 0.9 %.

Other con­tact-re­lated crimes, which in­clude ar­son and ma­li­cious dam­age to prop­erty, rose by 1.9%.

Po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Im­raan Bac­cus said in many African coun­tries there had al­ways been a link be­tween democrati­sa­tion and an in­crease in vi­o­lence and crime.

“So the crime sta­tis­tics are not com­pletely sur­pris­ing.

“But crime needs to be ur­gently ad­dressed as it is up­per­most on peo­ple’s minds and is de­stroy­ing con­fi­dence in South Africa.

“Un­for­tu­nately, the gov­ern­ment has han­dled our epi­demic of vi­o­lent crime very badly.

“The mil­i­tari­sa­tion of the po­lice and the ‘shoot to kill’ de­ba­cle un­der (for­mer po­lice com­mis­sioner) Bheki Cele has only es­ca­lated vi­o­lence. “We are not go­ing to be able to re­solve our very real crime prob­lem with­out rad­i­cal re­forms to the po­lice,” Bac­cus said.

“Un­for­tu­nately, there does not seem to be any po­lit­i­cal will to tackle the de­gen­er­a­tion of our po­lice force, even un­der cur­rent po­lice com­mis­sioner Riah Phiyega.

“So the rel­e­vant pow­ers need to ur­gently go back to the draw­ing board.”

– Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by ANA

What are your thoughts? Are the crime sta­tis­tics a true re­flec­tion of the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion in the coun­try? E-mail us: post@inl.co.za.

IM­RAAN BAC­CUS

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