South African sta­tis­tics show an in­crease in vi­o­lent crime

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY LYNSEY CHUTEL

Rates of vi­o­lent crime in­creased for a third year in a row in South Africa, a wor­ry­ing sign that vi­o­lence has be­come a char­ac­ter­is­tic of the coun­try, the po­lice min­is­ter said on Tues­day.

South Africa’s mur­der rate has in­creased by 4.6 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial crime sta­tis­tics.

“There are still high lev­els

of vi­o­lence and ag­gres­sion in our so­ci­ety and this is a se­ri­ous con­cern,” Min­is­ter Nkosi­nathi Nh­leko told par­lia­ment. Poverty and in­equal­ity, and the preva­lence of firearms con­trib­uted to this, he said.

At least 17,805 South Africans were mur­dered last year, a rate of 49 ev­ery day in a pop­u­la­tion of 54 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the Demo­cratic Al­liance, the of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion party.

“This num­ber of deaths is what one would ex­pect from a coun­try at war,” Diane Kohler Barnard, a Demo­cratic Al­liance mem­ber, said in a state­ment.

The de­crease in num­bers of rape and other forms sex­ual vi­o­lence by 5.4 per­cent may mean that vic­tims do not trust the po­lice enough to re­port these crimes, said Kohler Barnard.

More than 50,000

sex­ual

of- fences were re­ported to South African po­lice last year, but the num­ber of sex­ual vic­tims will­ing to re­port these crimes has dropped by 21 per­cent from 2011 to 2014, ac­cord­ing to a na­tional sur­vey on vic­tims of crime, car­ried out by Sta­tis­tics South Africa, a gov­ern­ment agency.

The in­crease of rob­beries, a crime typ­i­cally car­ried out by re­peat of­fend­ers, also points to po­lice in­ef­fec­tive­ness, said Gareth Ne­wham, a re­searcher at the In­sti­tute of Se­cu­rity Stud­ies, an in­de­pen­dent think tank.

“With a bud­get of around 80 bil­lion rand (about US$5.7 bil­lion), some of the best tech­nol­ogy in the world, and more than 194,000 per­son­nel, the SAPS (the South African Po­lice Ser­vice) should be bet­ter able to re­duce crimes such as rob­bery,” Ne­wham said in a state­ment.

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