Hu­man lives un­der­pin crime stats

Vuk'uzenzele - - Safety Security - Amuke­lani Chauke

tHE PO­LICE mIN­IStRy is boost­ing ef­forts to en­sure that the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan’s vi­sion for a safer South Africa is re­alised.

Po­lice Min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula has vowed to deal with vi­o­lent crim­i­nals. When he re­cently re­leased the crime sta­tis­tics for the 2016/17 fi­nan­cial year to the Port­fo­lio Com­mit­tee on Po­lice, he said that mur­der and rob­bery re­main stub­bornly high de­spite a de­crease over the past decade in se­ri­ous com­mu­nity-re­ported crimes.

Ev­ery year, the po­lice min­is­ter re­leases sta­tis­tics to as­sess crime pat­terns in the coun­try. They are also used to help strengthen crime- pre­ven­tion op­er­a­tions.

The sta­tis­tics mea­sure 21 se­ri­ous crimes. Sev­en­teen are re­ported by the com­mu­nity and the other four are de­tected as a re­sult of po­lice-ini­ti­ated op­er­a­tions. These in­clude: pos­ses­sion of firearms and am­mu­ni­tion,

driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence

of al­co­hol or drugs, deal­ing in drugs.

“We have no time to waste time. Crime is de­liv­er­ing ter­ror and grave harm to our peo­ple and the econ­omy,” he said.

Min­is­ter Mbalula sent a stern warn­ing to gang lords and vi­o­lent crim­i­nals, say­ing their ex­ploits will be matched with a

pro­por­tional re­sponse to the na­ture of the vi­o­lence they dish out.

He said that while com­mu­nity-re­ported se­ri­ous crimes con­tin­u­ally de­creased dur­ing the last half of the 10-year pe­riod un­der con­sid­er­a­tion (2007/08 to 2016/17), the con­tact crime fig­ures dropped ini­tially dur­ing the first half of the 10-year pe­riod, but had in­creased over the last three years.

De­spite the 1.8 per­cent de­crease in com­mu­nity-re­ported se­ri­ous crimes, in­di­vid­ual cat­e­gories such as mur­der and rob­bery with ag­gra­vat­ing cir­cum­stances have tended to re­flect an up­ward trend over the past four fi­nan­cial years.

Min­is­ter Mbalula said the SA Po­lice Ser­vice has en­tered into a part­ner­ship with Sta­tis­tics South Africa to give sta­tis­tics more in­tegrity.

“We sim­ply can­not fight against an en­emy we do not un­der­stand. We get to un­der­stand the pat­terns, the oc­cur­rences and types of crimes through the sta­tis­tics so that we may plan ac­cord­ingly," he said. The in­tegrity of crime sta­tis­tics is very im­por­tant and the pub­lic must trust that no clever ac­count­ing has been done.”

How­ever the min­is­ter said fig­ures should not only be taken as raw data as they rep­re­sent “hu­man lives and hu­man emo­tions”. “Crime in­volves high emo­tions. We must not see sta­tis­tics purely as numbers. Be­hind the numbers are real feel­ings, real lives, real harm, real losses, hurt and feel­ings of [be­ing un­safe].

“These sta­tis­tics rep­re­sent the mem­ory of that grue­some rape or mur­der, the fear­ful home in­va­sion. Peo­ple are los­ing their chil­dren to heinous crimes and drug dens. Our peo­ple have no-go ar­eas due to crim­i­nal­ity. I ac­knowl­edge that our peo­ple live un­der siege from crime,” he said.

Mur­der on the rise

Mean­while the po­lice’s head of sta­tis­tics, Lieu­tenant-Gen­eral Nor­man Sekhukhune, said de­spite a de­crease in com­mu­nity-re­ported crimes, mur­der re­mained a chal­lenge.

Mur­der was up by 1.8 per­cent dur­ing the 2016/17 fi­nan­cial year com­pared to an in­crease of 4.9 per­cent in the pre­vi­ous year.

He said sex­ual of­fences were down by 4.3 per­cent when com­pared to 2015/16 (-3.2 per­cent). At­tempted mur­der went up by 0.4 per­cent in the cur­rent fi­nan­cial year, while as­sault with in­tent to do griev­ous bod­ily harm went down by 6.7 per­cent. Ag­gra­vated rob­bery went up by 6.4 per­cent while as­sault and rob­bery went down by 5.2 per­cent and 1.3 per­cent re­spec­tively.

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