The South African Police Service (SAPS) released quarterly crime statistics for South Africa on Friday 3 March 2017. The Social Justice Coalition (SJC) welcomes the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) shift to releasing quarterly crime statistics and providing a more detailed breakdown of sexual offences. The release of the quarterly crime statistics comes after the SJC and other civil society organisations lobbied the SAPS for more regular and detailed crime statistics.
This is because crime statistics released as close to real-time as possible allow communities to recognise patterns in crime. While annual crime statistics are useful for research purposes, they are not particularly helpful for improving safety. This is why it is also necessary for SAPS to release the breakdown of the quarterly crime statistics per police station.
The number of murders in South Africa remains extremely high. A national decrease of 0,1% in murder still leaves us with 14 333 murder cases. The Western Cape was one of four provinces that had an increase in the number of murders reported.
Worryingly, there was also a 1,6% decrease of community reporting of serious crimes. While in the case of certain crimes such as sexual offences the statistics show a decrease, this must be viewed in relation to the decrease in community reporting of crime. According to the 2015/2016 Victims of Crime Survey, from 2014/2015 to 2015/2016, reporting of sexual offences decreased by almost 30%. The survey indicated that the biggest reason why victims of crime don’t report crimes to the police is because they believe police will not take any appropriate action.
The fact that most of the country’s murder hotspots are in the Western Cape’s black communities, cannot be separated from the SAPS’ reluctance to implement several of the recommendations of the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry. Specifically the allocation of police resources to stations around South Africa is still discriminatory and unacceptable, furthering race and class inequality within the country while also compromising the safety of black, working-class communities in particular.
SAPS remains in contempt of court for failing to submit all court papers and it continues to delay proceedings. The case, launched by the SJC, Equal Education and the Nyanga Community Policing Forum, aims to rectify to the unjust allocation of police resources in poor, mainly black areas.
SAPS needs to account for this, and respond to the court order rather than delay and jeopardise people’s safety.
For comment please contact:
Chumile Sali – 071 609 3236
Dalli Weyers – 082 460 2093