Remarks by Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa on release of National Crime Statistics
08 Sep 2010
Remarks by the Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa on the occasion of the release of National Crime Statistics,
Sheraton Hotel, Pretoria, Gauteng
09 September 2010
Deputy Minister of Police, FA Mbalula;
All MECs present;
National Commissioner of Police, General BH Cele;
Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police, Ms S Chikunga;
All SAPS Lieutenant Generals, Senior Officers and Staff present;
Secretariat for Police, Ms J Irish-Qhobosheane;
Chairperson of the PSIRA Board, P Bopela;
Executive Director of ICD, F Beukman;
Chairperson of the CPF Board, M Mphuti;
Representatives from Business and Civic Organisations present;
Members of the Media;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
2010 is “A Year of Action: Ensuring That All People In South Africa Are, and Feel Safe.”
The mandate of our Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster accordingly is to ensure that “all people in South Africa are and feel safe” in their homes, places of work and businesses whilst they carry on with their lives. The people in this context refer to all law-abiding South Africans.
For government, reducing contact crime is one of our key priorities because of its impact on the lives of ordinary South Africans. One of the fundamental commitments by this police leadership when we assumed office 24 months ago, was giving an assurance to all South Africans that we will remain transparent, forthright and open to engagement with society, across all facets of our crime-fighting strategies.
To this end we further assured the nation that annually, we will come before you to share progress made in our endeavours of fighting this vicious scourge. Today’s announcement should therefore be understood from that perspective: we do not approach this announcement as experts who are beyond reproach and know better than you. Our approach is one of deriving valuable input, feedback and constructive criticism from all sectors so that we can ensure a safe and secure nation.
Fellow South Africans,
The release of the South African Police Service (SAPS) crime statistics for the period 1st April 2009 to 31 March 2010, should ensure that in areas where we made inroads, that we dare not lie on our laurels and say our work has been completed. There is still a lot to be done. In areas where there have been increases in crime, we must re-commit ourselves to finding achievable solutions.
Crime statistics always give us a sober assessment of the state of crime and how far we have come in making the country safer. This year’s announcement is particularly unique in that we are releasing these statistics after a successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ and the overall success from a security planning. This success has stood us in good stead as a country since we have been able to completely change the negative perceptions about our country globally.
A Call to Action to Contribute to Fighting Crime
We are not in a habit of self propelling, as evidenced during the recent 2010 FIFA World Cup™ success, but prefer a review process where the society we serve and protect, is best placed to objectively and constructively judge us.
Contact crime currently accounts for 32% of all crimes. It is also this form of crime with which violence is normally associated. We are therefore encouraged by the decrease in various contact crime types which occurred during 2009/10 fiscal.
Decrease in Murder
In this regard, we are really encouraged in the significant decline in the murder rate, where we have seen the third largest decrease since 1995. For the first time in the history of SAPS the murder figure fell below the 17 000 mark compared to 26 877 in 1995/1996 fiscal year.
Murder decreased by 8,6% in the past fiscal year, that is 2009/2010. This is a significant achievement given that murder is the most reliable crime category in crime stats. Of all the crimes this is the one category you cannot easily cheat. In other words, the fact that such a crime is counted based on the actual bodies makes it more reliable.
We are also encouraged by the number of arrests that have taken place that are associated with this type of crime, which is 11 834 arrests. This has actually bolstered our resolve in fighting crime. We would endeavour to do more to reduce this figure even further.
Decrease in Attempted Murder
Attempted murder decreased by 6,1% for the past fiscal, resulting in 7 062 arrests. The arrests of robbers will, in all probability not only reduce murders as a result or robbery, but also remove perpetrators of social contact crime from society.
Decrease in Sexual Offences
Equally, we have seen a decrease in sexual offences by 4,4% between 2008/2009 and 2009/2010. This resulted in 26 311 arrests. We view this positively and if we can do more, we will be able to achieve even more success. We believe that the reintroduction of specialized units such the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) will contribute to decreasing this even further.
To this end we want to emphasize the point we have been making, that families and communities need to break the silence in such crimes; by not protecting people who are hurting and harming women and children. Research points out that crimes such as rape, assault and Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) take place amongst acquaintances, but then at times the victims are suppressed from reporting such crimes, socially, culturally and other reasons that are advanced.
To us, not reporting this kind of crime equally constitutes commitment of crime by those who shadow and harbor the perpetrators. This is also a very difficult area for police to deal with, because as we say it occurs in ‘closed doors’ and amongst acquaintances.
Decrease in Grievous Bodily Harm
Assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm marginally decreased by 0.5% between 2008/2009 and 2009/2010.
As government while we recognize and welcome this marginal decrease, we shall strive to ensure that we improve by fostering partnerships with different stakeholders, community-driven programmes, NGOs and other government departments.
Decrease in Aggravated Robbery
One of the priority crimes that continues to instill fear amongst ordinary South Africans is that of aggravated robbery. We are pleased that this is showing considerable decrease, particularly with regard to common and street robberies and hijackings.
During this fiscal year, robbery with aggravating circumstances decreased by 7,5% between 2008/2009 and 2009/2010. While we recognize that there are some forms of aggravated robbery in particular house and small business robberies which have not shown the targeted decline, we are pleased with the decrease.
We believe that some of our initiatives that have been introduced including the War Rooms, profiling of most wanted suspects and the introduction of Tactical Response Teams have gone some way in stabilizing these crimes. It is the first time since 2005 that these crimes have begun to stabilize.
Decrease in Cash-In-Transit Robbery
The cash-in-transit robbery decreased by 7,3% between 2008/2009 and 2009/2010, resulting in 52 arrests. This is one amongst many areas, where our intelligence work in partnership with various stakeholders has proven to be essential in the fight against crime.
Decrease in Bank Robbery
The bank robbery decreased by 8,8% between 2008/2009 and 2009/2010, resulting in 38 arrests. In this area, information-sharing amongst all other partners has played a crucial role in contributing to this decrease. We shall continue to foster these partnerships to ensure that we remain ahead of the criminals.
Decrease in Public or Street Robbery
Public or street robbery decreased by 10,4% during the last fiscal, resulting 9 552 arrests.
We can attribute this decrease to extremely high levels of police visibility which we maintained at various communities. We can also not overlook the important partnerships with community policing forums that dedicate their lives, patriotically commit themselves to helping police fight crime.
Decrease in Carjacking and Truckjacking
Carjacking decreased by 6,8% between 2008/2009 and 2009/2010, which resulted in 2 352 arrests. In the previous fiscal from April 2008 to March 2010, there were 14 915 cases or carjacking and during the 2009 to 2010 the figure was 13 902.
The truckjacking decreased by 1,7% between 2008/2009 and 2009/2010, resulting in 140 arrests. To a large degree, such successes are achieved through our cooperation with some of the neighbouring SADC countries.
Increase in Burglary at Residential Premises
During the 2009/10 festive season we launched ‘Operation Duty Calls.’ As part of this campaign the department embarked on various policing operations countrywide, interacting with communities, business and various organised structures with an objective of intensifying our fight against crime.
For the first time this year this type of crime is stabilizing since it has been increasing at an alarming rate over the past five years, within an average of 25%. Burglary at residential premises ratio increased by 2,7%.
To address this challenge, we have taken several proactive steps, including the appointment of the chairperson of Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA), who is here with us today, to further complement this industry’s cooperation with police. We further want to emphasize that communities must also cooperate with police to ensure we keep our homes safe against heartless criminals. We must undertake to ensure that our society changes for better and that our freedom as a nation is advanced, not undermined.
Increase in robbery at non-residential premises
Robbery at non-residential premises increased by 4,4% for the past fiscal. On these robberies police managed to arrest 3 342 criminals. Again here, there has always been a sharp increase but this financial year, we are starting to experience stabilization in this area as well.
Decreases in Big Businesses
Whilst there may have been increases in non-residential premises, we are further gratified to note that in almost all major business sectors, there has been significant decrease in robberies.
This would include the banking sector, cash-in-transits, major retailers notably 51% decline, 11% decline at shopping malls, 25% within the petroleum industries (petrol stations), tourism sector as well as 18% decline for post offices. This is encouraging because these industries had been negatively affected in the past few years.
Increase in Commercial Crime
One area of crime, commercial crime continues to show a marked increase. The commercial crime ratio increased by 8,1% between 2008/2009 and 2009/2010.
We have had discussions with both business people and some of our international counterparts. It is clear that this form of crime is on the increase globally. We are participating in forums both at a local and international level focusing on this particular crime.
Increase in Stock Theft
Last year, we identified the increase in stock theft as a problem which needed our focused attention. We are concerned that this trend has not been stemmed. The stock-theft ratio increased by 6,5% during the past fiscal.
We have already earlier this year and prior to the release of the crime stats, begun work on a number of initiatives including engaging with some of the worst affected communities, reviewing the operation of our stock theft units and well looking at legislative interventions.
Police detection rate of illegal firearms and ammunition
Crimes heavily dependent on police action for detection include illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. We have noticed an increase of 2,4% between 2008/2009 and 2009/2010.
While we remain concerned at the number of police firearms that are lost, subsequently we have introduced various measures to ensure we curb these losses. This includes the introduction of an Integrated Ballistic Testing system at police stations. During the last fiscal, we have recovered 61,6% or stolen or lost firearms. We shall be tightening the systems to ensure we improve on this percentage.
We firmly believe that once we correlate the figures for next year, where the bulk of the firearms amnesty figures will be included, it will show an even greater increase in the recovery of firearms.
Police bust in drug-related crimes
We are encouraged that crimes that are heavily dependent on police action such as drug possession and alcohol related crimes have shown an increase. As this increase speaks to improved police detection of such crimes.
Over the last year, we have engaged with a significant number of communities that are affected by the abuse of drugs and we all recognize that addressing this issue requires an integrated approach. Police have increased their ratio of apprehending people in drug-related crime by 13,6% between 2008/2009 and 2009/2010.
In some of the communities, with which we continuously engage, we have been able to subsequently record significant successes. The increase in drug detection, whilst reflects a positive trend, also concerns us because it could also speak to an increase in the availability of drugs in the country.
Arrest of 46 of the top 50 criminals
The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigations (DPCI), otherwise known as ‘The Hawks’ have already scored successes in a number of fields in their short existence. The Hawks arrested 46 of the top 50 criminal suspects, thus cracking the backbone of major crime syndicates.
Increase in cases of Drunken Driving
The driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs ratio increased by 10,6% between 2008/2009 and 2009/2010.
The successes which we have scored, underpins our assertions that through coordinated and integrated approach by different government departments, will government succeed. While law enforcement agencies will continue to mount operations, this also calls for more integrated approaches amongst various organs of government and society in general. Government led campaigns such as Arrive Alive are critical in creating awareness and promoting safe and responsible driving, but more can still be done.
Salute ordinary South Africans in fighting crime
We also salute structures in communities such as community police forums for their support and participation in the fight against crime. We have long ago realized that fighting crime is not only the business of the police. This government is continually working to make our streets, our communities and our cities safer places. We believe that it is not something we will be able to achieve overnight, but it can be done.
Increase in Police Deaths
Sadly, for the fiscal under review we have unfortunately lost some of our members while on duty. These committed men and women dedicated their lives to the noble cause of protecting our society. To us although they may have departed, we shall forever hold dear their contribution in the betterment of our society’s safety.
As we highlighted this past Sunday during the National Commemoration Day, we are continually distressed by police who lose their lives untimely. During the fiscal 2009/2010 we lost 110 police officers in the line of duty, whereas in the previous year we had lost 107. One police life lost is one too many.
Working Smarter and Harder to Make South Africans Safer
Critical in fighting crime is the campaign to weed out elements within the criminal justice system who are engaged in various acts of crime, including corruption. Both within and outside these institutions, the SAPS exposed and dealt with such networks forthrightly and without fear or favour.
When this new police administration spoke about the new way of doing things, we did so bearing in mind that we need to look at all the challenges holistically. From our operational resources to capacitating our Force, this is a new era and we remain confident that this new way of thinking, will help us in our goals. This is also a new kind of culture of working harder and smarter.
The drop in various crime categories compared to the last fiscal in general is satisfactory. To a large degree we want to utilize this occasion, to acknowledge and congratulate the contribution of each and every member of the SAPS, under the stewardship of General Bheki Cele, for their commitment to protecting and serving the nation.
It remains our firm and achievable belief that while there is still significant work to be done in ensuring our people are and feel safe, we have shown that we are certainly up to the task and are capable of addressing the challenges that lie ahead.
Indeed the tide is turning against crime and criminals, as we push back the frontiers of evil.
I thank you.
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