Crime and Justice Programme
Institute for Security Studies
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Commenting on the police statistics, Gareth Newham, head of the Crime and Justice Programme at the Institute for Security Studies, said:
“Crime in South Africa keeps going down, for which the police and many communities deserve some credit.
“But what the statistics don`t reveal is the grim reality of many serious and often hidden crimes such as domestic violence, child abuse, hate crimes and corruption. It is important that the SAPS further improves its method of collecting and reporting on these crime statistics. If better data can be obtained about these crimes, they can be addressed more effectively.
“While murder has continued to decline since 1994, reductions in other interpersonal violent crime such as murder, attempted murder and assaults are part of an ongoing trend that started in 2003. There are no simple reasons for the reduction in these types of crime. It is not simply because of the World Cup, or because we have more police officials. The reasons are most likely to be found in a careful analysis of local socioeconomic factors.
“Reducing crime in the long run is not just about policing and the criminal justice system. It also requires a relentless focus on tackling poverty and inequality, making sure children are safe and healthy and improving education.
“The police can take credit for reductions in crimes such as vehicle hijacking, residential robberies and the stabilisation in business robberies. This is because these crimes are organised and committed by repeat offenders who won`t stop until the risks of being apprehended are too great. Improvements in police intelligence, investigations and a rapid response to these types of crimes have resulted in better arrest and conviction rates for these criminals and once behind bars, they no longer pose a danger to our communities.
“The reduction in crime should remove undue pressure on the police and provide the much needed space for police leadership to focus on promoting police professionalism and service delivery by tackling ill-discipline, and the abuse of power and corruption by police members.
The Crime & Justice Programme aims to be the single most comprehensive source of information and analysis on crime, criminal justice and crime prevention in South Africa. Its purpose is to contribute towards, transparency, accountability, good governance and public awareness in relation to crime, its prevention and criminal justice.