Monday, March 23, 2009

Where are the crime stats?

This guvmunt is a joke. In every aspect of governance, they fail miserably. The short of it is, they do not care. Once a terrorist entity, always a terrorist entity.

South Africans are in the dark about the crime situation in the country.

The last national crime statistics the government made public are a year old and are no longer a reflection of the status quo.

It was expected that the government would release a biannual crime report in November or December last year, but failed to do so.

Memos sent to the government requesting up-to-date crime figures have met with no response and now some researchers and experts working for crime prevention organisations believe the government is deliberately with-holding the latest data on crime until after the elections.

The last national crime statistics were released to the public in June 2008 and they only contained data dating up to March 2008.

"This means that the information that we have now is a year old," said Johan Burger, a senior researcher for the crime, justice and politics programme at the Institute for Security Studies.

It was expected that the government would release the latest crime statistics in November or December 2008 as per its commitment to deliver biannual crime reports. But no national report has to date been released.

Burger is unsure that the government will even release its annual crime report in June this year.

"Perhaps we shouldn't judge too early, perhaps they are simply reviewing their crime stats release policy. They do need to reconsider it, but in the meantime we have no idea what is going on in the country," said Burger.

He suggested that it was "very plausible that the latest crime stats might contain bad news" that the government was loathe to release before the elections.

Several attempts made by Weekend Argus to contact the minister of safety and security, Nathi Mthethwa, for comment were unsuccessful.

The South African Police Service's (SAPS) crime statistician, Commissioner Chris de Kok, said he was unable to comment without Mthethwa's consent.

Should the government once again release national crime statistics for 2008/2009 in June this year, the existing data would be 15 months old. Without up-to-date crime statistics, Burger said there was no way of gauging the full extent of the crime situation in the country.

"We have no idea what is happening. We are completely in the dark," he said.

Since 2001, official policy dictated that crime statistics would only be released with the publication of the SAPS annual report in September.

Researchers and crime prevention agencies have put pressure on the government to release crime figures before to the annual report. There was also a call for more frequent reports.

In a public appeal to the government, David Bruce, a senior researcher in the Criminal Justice Programme at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, made comparisons between other countries that struggled with high crime rates, such as Northern Ireland, which published six statistical reports a year, and the US, where the New York Police Department releases weekly statistics.

In 2007, former minister of safety and security Charles Nqakula released the national crime statistics three months ahead of schedule and made a commitment to release the national crime figures and trends every six months.

However, since Mthethwa's appointment in October last year, the release of national crime statistics have not been forthcoming.

"We saw the response by the former minister of safety and security as a step in the right direction. We suspect that the mid-term changes in the department of safety and security - the change in ministers - resulted in this commitment not being followed," said Siphiwe Nzimande, the chief executive officer of Business Against Crime South Africa (Bacsa).

Bacsa chairperson, Mark Lamberti and Nzimande submitted a proposal in a memo which was discussed with Mthethwa on November 3, 2008, in which they requested that the government release up-to-date crime statistics and more frequent reports, according to Nzimande.

"Further to this, a call was made by the chairman of Bacsa (Lamberti) in his keynote address at the National Crime Summit that took place on December 1-2, 2008. This summit was arranged by the ministry of safety and security at the specific request of the new minister and it was attended by three JCPS (Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster) ministers," said Nzimande.

During Lamberti's address, he suggested that the two most critical steps in dealing with crime were to "acknowledge the problem and measure the problem".

"The current annual publication of results, sometimes as late as 18 months after their occurrence, does little to assist the fight against crime, and we believe that the nation at large and all involved in fight against crime would be encouraged and motivated by the quarterly publication of crime statistics and other key measures of the efficiency of the criminal justice system," he said.

In the absence of the most up-to-date official data on crime, Bacsa sourced information directly from the SAPS, business organisations and other crime prevention partners.

"So, while Bacsa feel that they have sufficient information to remain operational, they suggest that the non-existence of crime statistics has a negative impact on businesses in the country," Nzimande said. "The failure to regularly release the national crime statistics denies business (big and small) the opportunity to properly assess opportunities for business developments, fixed investments and to develop confidence in the government".

He said releasing biannual national crime reports were insufficient.

"The position of Bacsa has been consistent in our call for the national crime statistics, together with the performance of the entire CJS (Criminal Justice System) to be ideally released frequently - at least quarterly," he said.

2 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

The fact that the ANC are not prepared to release the crime statistics tells everyone that the situation is extremely serious.

This guvmunt reminds one of a small child covering his eyes with his hands to try to make himself invisible. Typical example of yet another African nation fast heading towards being another statistic of a failed state.

Anonymous said...

Just another example of Kafr (irreligous) culture... think we have one of these every month in South Africa:
"About 19 pupils behaved as though they were "possessed by demons" at the Nompumelelo Junior Secondary school in Lusikisiki on Monday, Eastern Cape police said.

Captain Mduduzi Godlwana said the school was disrupted after the pupils began screaming in the school yard during the lunch break.

They then started behaving violently towards each other.

"They were also fainting, and screaming, and truly acting as though they were possessed, we are all baffled," Godlwana said.

"I really don't know what is going on."

He said a similar incident occurred at the school on Thursday, but he was not sure how many pupils behaved "hysterically" then." IOL