22 January 2013

South Africa: Festive Season Successes Announced

Johannesburg — A total of 45 111 people were arrested in Gauteng during the festive season for crimes ranging from robberies, rape, assault, kidnapping, attempted murder, murder, burglary at houses and business premises, drug related crimes, fraud and shoplifting.

This is according to Provincial Police Commissioner Mzwandile Petros, who released the crime statistics for the festive season period in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

The statistics indicate that the implementation of the When Duty Calls Operation, which was launched on 15 September, had resulted in intensified police visibility in Gauteng.

The campaign focused on aggravated robberies, firearms, liquor and second goods as well as crimes against women, children and people with disabilities and the elderly.

Since the inception of the campaign, the provincial police conducted 3 495 road blocks and closed down 4 924 illegal liquor outlets.

Over 411 500 litres of alcohol which was sold illegally was confiscated. They also confiscated six million grams of dagga, 2832 grams of cocaine, 4225 grams of nyaope, 2551 and grams of tik, among others.

To the date, this has resulted in 18508 arrests for drug related crimes. The biggest drug busts were in Randburg and Roodeport, where four suspected where arrested and drugs worth 30 million confiscated.

"These are specific drug houses that were raided and some of the kingpins arrested. This was achieved through information sharing without different units such as the Hawks, crime intelligent and detectives units," said Petros.

On Tuesday, Petros destroyed about 52 500 litres of alcohol and 29 400 counterfeit CDs and DVDs which had been confiscated.

The commissioner said SAPS will continue to focus on the fight against crime, saying crime impacted negatively on communities.

Their resolve was not merely to arrest the sniffers of drugs such as nyaope, woonga and tik, but to crack the backbone of crime syndicates.

"We are aware that resolving this challenge is not only about effective policing systems but that society has a fundamental role to play particularly family orientation...it is a societal challenge that must be tackled collectively," said Petros.

Other successes included a drop in cash in transit robberies, bank robberies and robberies at shopping malls. About 2 437 stolen vehicles were recovered, 3 346 illegal firearms and 47 784 round of ammunition confiscated.

For the period, 1 357 suspects were arrested for rape and 82 for attempted rape.

Petros attributed these successes to smart policing, which anchored around utilising information, communication, ICT to fight crime and partnering with communities.

However, he said police remained very concerned about the lack of adherence to the rules of the road which have resulted in fatalities and loss of lives.

The Transport Department has revealed that around 1 465 people lost their lives in road accidents during the season nationally.

The Commissioner was also concerned by the recent high incidents of aggravated crimes reported in Muldersdrift. He said police believed most of the suspects who are committing crime in the area were foreign nationals coming from the Diepsloot area.

Petros said steps had been taken to address the issue, including increased police visibility, deploying extra flying squad vehicles in the N14, and various operations and foot patrols.

Although they were satisfied with the campaign, Petros said the work of the SAPS in Gauteng was not done.

"The work ahead is still massive, yet we believe such success will motivate our men and women in blue to work even harder," he said, adding that they have drawn lessons from the campaign.

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