‘Rising violent crime despite a budget of R80bn’ – SAPS and society must wake up

Males in their 20s are most likely to be the perpetrators of crime in South Africa‚ and are likely known to their victim.

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This is according to police top brass‚ who today revealed the deadly cocktail of drugs‚ alcohol and guns that is fuelling crime in South Africa.

The murder rate over the past year has increased by 4.6% over the past year‚ Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega said in parliament.

This means 49 people a day were killed‚ on average‚ in the past year.

Attempted murder had also seen an increase of 3.2 % while common robbery and aggravated robbery rose by 2.7 and 8.5% respectively. Sexual offences recorded a 5.4% decrease while common assault also decreased over by 2.8% over the past year.

Contact and contact-related crimes totalled 41.4% of all charges laid by South Africans last year‚ while property-related crimes made up 30.8% and other serious crimes 27.8%.

General Phiyega said in contact crimes‚ the victims and perpetrators are usually known to each other.

Noting that most perpetrators are males in their 20s‚ she said contact crimes have decreased over ten years‚ but have increased by 0.9% in the 2014-2015 year.

“Contact crimes remain stubborn. We require community partnership‚” she urged.

Highlighting areas of concern‚ General Phiyega noted that “drug circulation contributes to crimes in the country” and revealed that 237 South Africans were arrested elsewhere in the world as drug mules in 2014/15.

She also expressed concern about illegal weapons in circulation‚ saying there is “no limit to the number of firearms” that are imported into the country.

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko told MPs that the belief that police could single-handedly solve the murder rate in the country was “essentially a hallucination”.

“We continue to have violence as a feature of our social outlook as a South African society‚” he said.

He said there was a “causal link” between the commission of a crime and drug and alcohol abuse — despite police closing down 37‚979 illegal liquor premises and destroying 1.7 billion litres of alcohol.

On the number of crimes being solved in South Africa‚ General Phiyega said there had been a 1.9% increase in police ‘detected crimes’.

The top performing province was Free State with an aggregate performance about or above 60%.

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The increase in serious violent crime shows a failure of police strategy‚ but the SAPS cannot shoulder the burden alone‚ the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) said in reaction to the latest crime statistics.

“The police cannot be held responsible for dealing with all crime‚ especially not most murders‚ rape‚ child abuse and assault.

These crimes often start intergenerational cycles of violence and addressing them requires a different approach‚” Gareth Newham‚ head of the ISS Governance‚ Crime and Justice division‚ said in a statement.

“Better data and stronger partnerships are also needed between government‚ civil society institutions that do research and analysis‚ and those that implement social programmes‚ so that data can be used effectively to identify areas of need‚” he said.

Newham voiced concern that South Africa has seen “a third successive year of increases in the most serious categories of violent and organised crime‚ yet South Africa lacks clear strategies to reverse this dangerous trend”.

Armed robberies are a key indicator of police effectiveness because they are typically committed by a relatively small number of repeat offenders who are usually organised. This means that a clear robbery reduction strategy that is intelligence led and backed up by specialised teams of detectives will lead to the identification‚ arrest and successful prosecutions of increasing numbers of armed robbers and the buyers of stolen goods. That robberies have increased raises questions about the extent to which police resources are being effectively used‚ he said.

“South Africans should not have to suffer yet another year in which violent robberies are increasing on their streets and in their homes and places of work. It simply isn’t necessary as this is a crime that the police have the personnel‚ expertise and resources to reduce.

“With a budget of around R80bn‚ some of the best technology in the world‚ and more than 194‚000 personnel‚ the SAPS should be better able to reduce crimes such as robbery.”

He recommended that the “serial crises of top management” should be tackled to ensure improvements in policing.

“This has to be a priority if the SAPS is to be transformed into a highly professional organisation that can build trust amongst all people in South Africa. This requires that only the most skilled‚ experienced and honest men and women are appointed to senior leadership positions.”

He called for the SAPS National and Deputy Commissioners to be appointed on the advice of an independent selection panel following a transparent and competitive recruitment process.

RDM News Wire.

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