South Africa 19.9.2013 11:36 am

Government’s approach to crime not working – analyst

FILE PICTURE: Members of the South African Police Services. Picture: Morapedi Mashashe

FILE PICTURE: Members of the South African Police Services. Picture: Morapedi Mashashe

The increase in serious and violent crime in South Africa shows that government’s approach to crime is not working, Institute for Security Studies’ (ISS) analyst Gareth Newham said on Thursday.

Responding to the release of the SA Police Service crime statistics for 2012/13, Newham said that after a long period of decreases in serious and violent crime, the newly released figured were the worst seen in 10 years.

“Violence remains unacceptably high and should be treated as a serious crisis which stands in the way of South Africa’s social and economic development,” he said in a statement.

Newham, who is the director of the Governance, Crime and Justice programme at the ISS, went on to say that there has been an increase in the crimes South Africans are most afraid of, such as murder, attempted murder, car hijacking, street robbery and house robbery.

During the release of the 2012/13 crime statistics in pretoria, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said that the murder rate, despite previously decreasing by 16.6 percent over the past four years, had increased by 0.6 percent. There was also a 6.5 percent increase in attempted murder, in contrast to the 16.8 percent over the past four years and 51.7 percent over the past nine years.

Despite this criticism, Newham emphasised that reducing crime was not only a police responsibility. “There is also an important role for other government departments such as health, education and social development. We understand that the police work under very difficult circumstances, and we applaud the many officers who work tirelessly to combat crime and to protect people and communities in South Africa.”

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