Releasing the crime statistics for the period 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012 on Thursday morning, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said business robberies had increased by 7.5%.
Mthethwa said he was particularly concerned that small businesses appeared to be hardest hit. But he gave his assurance that his department’s commitment to fighting crime was unshaken.
“The seriousness with which government views crimes against small business requires a comprehensive and holistic strategy to ensure that the phenomenon is addressed in all its dimensions. We need to implement a shared vision, a collective and integrated approach, business involvement, participation and improved crime-prevention,” Mthethwa said.
He mentioned that in collating the statistics, government had engaged various stakeholders including business, tracking and insurance to compare their experiences with regard to certain types of crime. He was pleased to note that there was convergence.
On the upside, organised crime statistics were down, with car hijacking falling 11.9%, cash-in-transit heists dropping a phenomenal 37.5%, while bank robberies decreased by 10.3%. ATM bombings slid 34.6% from 399 cases to 261.
“We reiterate that such declines were not achieved through sheer luck but through well-coordinated planning, partnerships with the business and banking sectors and we shall continue to sustain these partnerships,” he said.
Mthethwa said commercial crimes had decreased by 1.5% due to improved police intelligence, introduction and enhancement of crime-fighting technology including fingerprint identification, forensic technology and CCTVs.
However, stock theft was up 1.5%, eroding the previous year’s drop of 8.2%. Mthethwa said this area was being paid dedicated focus, as the slight increase could not be allowed to become a trend. He said in partnership with the community and agricultural organisations as well as trade unions, particular focus was being given to cross-border crimes and stock theft in particular.
A critical barometer of a country’s crime level, murder was down 3.1%. Mthethwa said he was encouraged to note the downward trend in murder stats since the dawn of democracy.
But he was disturbed by the stubbornly high number of recorded rapes, although he noted a 1.9% drop in the period to March 2012.
Reported sexual offences against women and children (including rape) dropped 3.7%. But he indicated that these crimes figures were distorted by reporting patterns, hence Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) units had been re-established in 2009.
Aggravated robberies are down 1,4% and house robberies decreased 1.9%.