Crime has reached a crisis point and requires concerted efforts from Police and civil Society
The Portfolio Committee on Police is concerned by the upward trend in crime statistics across the board and, in particular, violent crime, especially against women and children.
The statistics received by the committee this week continue to paint a grim picture for the fight against crime in the country. The committee was briefed on the second quarter (July to September 2022) crime statistics.
“The committee’s argument is that a collaboration between the police and the community is the only basis on which the fight can be won. Also, the enhancement of both the detectives and crime intelligence environments will add the necessary energy and expertise in the fight against crime,” said Ms Tina Joemat-Pettersson, the Chairperson of the committee.
The increase of 11 per cent in sexual offences, 13 per cent in murder and 34 per cent in attempted sexual offences is worrying and points to a failure to deal with these categories of crime.
The committee is also concerned to hear that 558 children were killed from April to September, while 294 attempted murder cases from July to September suggests an indifferent society oblivious to the challenges facing women and children.
The committee is also concerned by the number of contact crimes connected to substance abuse, including liquor and drugs.
The committee was informed that 3 100 cases of assault with grievous bodily harm, 65 cases of rape, 275 cases of attempted murder and 267 murders all occurred at liquor outlets.
Substance abuse as a causative factor of crime needs urgent analysis and solutions. The committee further called for an analysis of trends related to the July spike in crimes.
Moreover, the committee is concerned by the increase in cases of vigilantism/mob justice.
The crime statistics show that 528 murders, 79 attempted murders and 544 assault with grievous bodily harm were as a result of mob justice.
This is worrying as it points to the South African Police Service’s lack of credibility, as these cases would ordinarily have been referred to the police.
The committee remains of the view that communities must play an active and constructive role in the war against crime. “While policing plays a critical role in the fight against crime, the collaborative efforts by the community are essential and will enable the speedy investigation of crime,” Ms Joemat-Pettersson emphasised.
Due to time constraints, the committee was not able to interrogate the statistics in detail and resolved to hold a special meeting dedicated to analysing and understanding some trends and finding solutions.