The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (POPCRU) has noted the recently released quarterly crime statistics for the period covering the 1st of April to the 30th of June 2021 by the South African Police Service (SAPS).

The union also noted that under the period in review, our country was ravaged by conditions of unrest, wherein violent protests, various acts of looting and lawlessness were at their highest, and therefore played a contributory factor to the general rise in the reported statistics.

It is for us noteworthy to consider that as compared to the quarter of the 2020/21 financial year having coincided with the level 5 lockdown, wherein movements were limited and a majority of businesses closed, it was bound to be the case that the then crime rate levels would be lower than normal as the implemented measures impacted on the causative factors of crime. This, however, was short-lived as households increasingly became desperate in pursuing their economic functions to economically sustain their livelihoods. 

Due to these constraints, partly by the effects of the pandemic, and the recently failed attempted insurrection that resulted in widespread looting and lawlessness, the current sporadic rise in crime statistics were to be expected. 

With these conditions yielding the current multiple increases in the crime statistics, with contact crime increasing by 60,6% and other serious crimes by 35,2%, while murder has increased by 66,2% increase of 5760 people killed, with rape having increased by 4201 cases, amounting to an increase of 72,4%, this should not simply be taken at face value, but with the seriousness of the possible vulnerabilities we all need to improve on.

Despite these recent sporadic events and increases in crime stats, reality is that in comparison to the 2019/20 financial years, there are widespread increases and we are in an increasing trend. 

Ideally, crime statistics are a useful tool as they provide our law enforcement agencies with data for use in determining budgetary formulations, planning, and the allocation of resources and police operations. The fact that we have been seeing minimal reductions of criminal activities over the past 5 years means that as much as the stated purposes of sharing statistics are clear, their outcomes have not been effectively implemented over the years, possibly due to numerous factors that include the budgetary constraints the SAPS finds itself. 

Issues of understaffing, the uneven allocation of resource, the shortages of ammunition and training have all been part of the underlying challenges faced.

It is for us vital that when addressing the rising crime statistics, we take a broad approach that considers the broad conditions faced by our populace, including the socio-economic implications we find ourselves. 

With the view that crime is not solely a police issue, POPCRU will be holding numerous engagements that will ensure all stakeholders, including communities, are given platforms within which we can jointly engage and find solutions towards resolving our common crime challenges as a country. 

Issued by POPCRU on 20/08/2011

For more information contact Richard Mamabolo on 066 135 4349

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