8 September 2011
The levels of “contact crime” in South Africa – crimes usually involving violence – decreased by 6.9% in 2010/11, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Thursday, while adding that the fight was far from over.
Releasing the country’s annual crime statistics in Pretoria on Thursday, Mthethwa said there was a decline in all types of “contact crime”, including murder, rape, assault with intent to do serious bodily harm, common assault, aggravated robbery and common robbery.
Murder was down by 6.5% and sexual offences by 3.1%. Assault with intent to do serious bodily harm dropped by 4.5%, while robbery with aggravating circumstances was down by 12%.
However, Mthethwa said the stats were still worrying.
“Contact crime is an area of crime which by its nature leads to serious feelings of fear and insecurity, because it is this form of crime [with] which violence is normally associated.”
Drug-related crime on the increase
Noting the 10.2% increase in drug-related crimes in 2010/11, Mthethwa said the police, instead of focusing on arresting people in possession of drugs, would be mounting operations aimed at the leaders of drug syndicates.
He said they would also be working with the Departments of Education and Social Development in addressing the challenge of affected children.
“We also acknowledge that dealing with drugs is a global challenge that needs to be coordinated with our international counterparts.”
Drunken driving on the increase
Mthethwa said it seemed people were not taking the “don’t drink and drive” motto seriously, as drunken driving cases were up by 3.5% in 2010/11, following the previous year’s 10.6% increase.
“We all have a duty to ensure that our roads are safe, and those who break the law will be severely punished.”
Although the stats showed a general decrease in all crimes, Mthethwa said this was just a motivating factor for the police, and that the fight was far from over.
“Victory against crime is now an achievable goal. However, for as long as young children are still under bondage of crime and drugs, for as long as businesses are robbed, for as long as women are abused and raped, for as long as South Africans are mugged and hijacked – none of us must rest.”