South Africa crime stats: Brace yourself

South Africa crime stats: Brace yourself
Crime in South Africa.

When national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega releases the crime statistics on Tuesday, the numbers will probably reflect an increase in violent crime.

City Press understands that the data will suggest there has been a rise in the rate of murder, rape, robbery and car hijacking. But sources inside the SA Police Service (Saps) have told City Press their management will try to argue that the increase in violent crime was not as high as last year’s spike.

In an effort to reduce violent crime and speed up the arrest of perpetrators, the police have come to an agreement with the SABC to regularly flight pictures of some of the country’s most wanted criminals.

Phiyega is also under pressure because she has until Monday to respond to President Jacob Zuma’s instruction that she give him reasons for why she should not be suspended pending an inquiry into her fitness to hold office.

But sources close to her said Phiyega could not be blamed for the increase in crime.

They said the spike in truck and car hijackings had been made worse because criminals were spending more time targeting trucks that carried cigarettes as cargo.

The stats will also probably show an increase in residential break-ins and business robberies countrywide.

Figures obtained by Beeld indicate that in certain areas around Gauteng, violent crime increased at an alarming rate between April last year and January this year.

During that period, Ga-Rankuwa, a township north of Pretoria, experienced a 49% rise in murders. The murder rate also spiked in Germiston, Katlehong, Mamelodi and Johannesburg central.

Germiston was also subjected to a 15% increase in rape, while Hillbrow, Carletonville and Krugersdorp saw a surge in reported rape cases.

More worryingly, truck hijackings went up dramatically in Hillbrow and Honeydew, with the latter recording a 200% increase in attacks.

Theft from homes and house robberies went up in areas such as Orlando and Moroka in Soweto, as well as in Mamelodi, Tembisa, Vereeniging and Bronkhorstspruit.

An insider close to Phiyega said: “Murder went up by 5% last year, but this year the figure is expected to show a marginally lower percentage increase. Armed robbery was up 12.7% last year, but this year the number is expected to show an increase below 10%.”

The source said Saps management had already put measures in place to deal with the problem of violent crime. The police are expected to intensify the use of task teams to fight organised crime, especially syndicates that are involved in shopping centre robberies and the hijacking of delivery vehicles.

Police insiders boasted that more than 30 people belonging to different gangs and suspected of robbing shopping centres – especially over the festive season – had been arrested in the Western Cape and Gauteng. Firearms and vehicles were also seized during police operations.

Phiyega is also expected to deal with the issue of police corruption during her presentation.

Last year, 1 663 police officers were dismissed for various acts of corruption committed over a period of three years. Last month alone, 21 police officers were dismissed after facing internal charges related to the problem.

Phiyega’s spokesperson, Solomon Makgale, said he could not comment on the crime stats until they were officially released

City Press

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