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The latest Crime statistics – police claim “Victory!”

Published on 2012-09-25


Writing from a personal perspective, as someone who very recently had a friend murdered, and whose body was then dropped from a bridge into a river near Hartbeestpoort dam, I find the claim somewhat excessive.


Perhaps murders are generally down by 3,1%, but we still head the league table internationally, and at the present rate of decline we will breach the civilised world average of 7 murders per 100 000 people in 36 year’s time. But I do applaud the police for progress.


But over 16 000 murders per year (including 800 children) is just far too high.


UNISA’s Rudolph Zinn has queried the methodology of the latest release, saying that there is no explanation on why certain areas have shown an improvement, and he asks why the same tactics aren’t being rolled out elsewhere.


The ISS’s Johan Burger has cautiously welcomed the improvement, but commented that some police precincts are nowhere near target.


Let’s take another look at the figures: Drug-related crime continues to increase. This is mostly in the Western Cape where gang activity and unemployment remains a scourge. The bugbear of education raises its head in so many areas and related to so many issues. Education is a critical priority in increasing employment and offering an alternative to a life of crime.

Driving under the influence has increased. No explanations are given but here is a theory: There are definitely more road blocks in the Gauteng region where I live, testing for drunk drivers. Perhaps there are not more drunks on the road, more are simply getting caught. And that I applaud.

Robbery at homes has decreased, but business robberies continue to increase. Again, speaking from a personal perspective, ADT who operate in my area have increased staff, upgraded equipment and improved communications with the public. We also have an extremely efficient secondary blockwatch team staffed by former policemen. (In fact a while ago we caught a Zimbabwean national, without permit or papers, trying to break into my car one night). According to the stats report criminals are now moving further afield looking for softer targets. This is confirmed by the rash of serious crimes now being committed in Muldersdrift – including two murders in the very recent past.

Kidnapping has increased. I have no comment on this other than to say it is a phenomenon of countries like South American banana Republics. Easy to extort money from families.

Car and truck hijacking continue to decrease. Perhaps a lot of credit here is due to companies like Tracker, who are making the crime much more difficult to pull off.


All in all I will always welcome improved crime figures, but I would define it as a pleasing trend not a “Victory”. That is still some way off. 


Chris Meintjies: chris@cmassociates.co.za


For more detailed statistics go to www.crimestatssa.com