20 September 2012

South Africa: Police 'Winning War On Organised Crime'

Photo: Guy Oliver/IRIN
The drop in organised crime show that strategies police put in place over the past three years continued to yield results, the government says.

Organised crimes such as carjackings, cash-in-transit heists and bank robberies decreased in South Africa in 2011/12, according to the country's annual crime statistics.

Releasing the national statistics in Cape Town on Thursday, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said car hijackings had declined by 11.9% between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2012, after falling by 23.6% in the previous financial year, indicating that the strategies the police had put in place over the past three years were yielding results.

"Both motor vehicle theft and carjacking are more organised in nature and frequently linked to the export of stolen or hijacked vehicles across the borders of the Republic of South Africa," Mthethwa said.

"But we are encouraged by the work done by the crime intelligence, working with various SAPS units, and this collaboration resulted in a number of arrests thus disrupting and halting some of these syndicates."

'Better co-ordination, information sharing'

There was a dramatic decrease in cash-in-transit heists, dropping by 37.5% in 2011/12. Mthethwa attributed this to better coordination and information sharing between the South African Police Service (SAPS) and various role-players.

Bank robberies, meanwhile, decreased by 10.3%, while ATM bombings fell by almost 35% - from 399 cases in 2010/11 to 251 cases in 2011/12 - after increasing by 62% in 2010/11.

These successes "were not achieved through sheer luck but through well-coordinated planning and partnerships with the business and banking sectors, and we shall continue to sustain these partnerships," Mthethwa said.

Aggravated robbery - the second-largest generator of other "contact" crimes, particularly attempted murder and murder, because victims were sometimes killed or seriously injured during such robberies - decreased by 1.4%.

Business robberies increase

While house robberies fell by almost 2%, business robberies continue to increase and were up by 7.5% - most of these against small businesses.

The seriousness with which government viewed crimes against small businesses required a comprehensive strategy to ensure that the phenomenon was addressed in all its dimensions, Mthethwa said.

"We need to implement a shared vision, a collective and integrated approach [incorporating] business involvement and participation and improved crime prevention."

A strategy to combat robberies at small business had been finalised and, through the Civilian Secretariat of Police there would be engagement with relevant parties to ensure the implementation of the strategy within the next few weeks, Mthethwa said.


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