Crime stats reveal ‘concerning trends’: ISS

The crime statistics released on Friday point to two “key concerning trends” related to public safety in South Africa: the increase in the murder rate‚ and a rise in organised crime.

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) was reacting to the crime statistics that were presented before the Police Portfolio Committee in Parliament.

“The murder rate is a key measure of violence in society. The increase in this category means we must rethink our approach to improving public safety‚’ said Dr Chandré Gould‚ ISS researcher.

The South African Police Service recorded a 3.2% increase in murder in the past year. The police said 18673 people were murdered in the 2015/2016 financial year compared to 17805 the previous year.

“We have to start doing things differently: most importantly‚ by intervening in the factors that contribute to the risk of violence. These include investing in at-risk youth; keeping children safe and supporting parents; and addressing the role of alcohol‚ guns and drugs‚” said Gould.

She said the police should play a leading role in tackling crimes by repeat offenders and violence linked to organised syndicates or groups.

“The ongoing increases in aggravated robbery should therefore also be of concern to all. Many robberies are committed repeatedly by the same small groups and are supported by those who trade in stolen goods” the ISS said.

According to ISS‚ the 14 % increase in hijackings “suggests that we are losing the war against organised crime and greater attention should be given to why this is the case”.

“Better use of crime intelligence‚ with support from experienced detectives and forensic capacity will go far in reducing these crimes. A good example is the success in tackling truck hijacking following the appointment of a dedicated task team.”

The ISS commended acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane‚ whose appointment they say‚ has brought the “back to basics approach”.

“General Phahlane has injected positive and professional energy into the SAPS at a national level. He has done well in a short amount of time‚ but we will need to be patient to enable this new approach to have the desired.”

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