JOHANNESBURG – Politicians and organised business have rubbished the latest government crime statistics as an attempt to pull the wool over their eyes, saying that more must be done to paint an accurate picture of the crime epidemic.
Releasing the 2007/2008 crime statistics on Monday, police maintained that South Africa compares “quite favourably” with other Interpol member countries – citing decreases in contact crimes such as murder, rape, robbery and assault as proof.
But government acknowledged that the rise in violent crime such as house robberies (13,5%), business robberies (47,4%) and vehicle hijacking (4,4%) were of “extreme concern.”
This was especially true because police had prioritised these crimes, launching several initiatives to combat them since July 2006 and March 2007.
The Democratic Alliance (DA), Freedom Front Plus (FF Plus), African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) and Business Against Crime (BAC) all dissented yesterday, questioning the accuracy of the official statistics
The DA’s Dianne Kohler-Barnard said she was treating the statistics with the “deepest scepticism”, maintaining that some of the decreases could be attributed to fewer people “bothered” to report crimes anymore.
According to available statistics, as many as 51% of victims did not report serious crimes such as robberies, and less than half of South Africans felt the police were doing a good job.
Chief executive Siphiwe Nzimande said BAC remained “steadfast” in their belief that government needed to release the crime statistics “more frequently”.