Crime stats may be final nail in the coffin

Rishigen Viranna, MPL

DA KZN Spokesperson on Community Safety

The credibility of the province’s crime statistics, released last week, have come under fire as massive  discrepancies come to light, including SAPS stations with a 100 percent drop in crime while other areas not known for crime, see an increase of up to 6 000 percent.

One such instance is Westville police station which, according to the stats, recorded a staggering 192 cases of stock theft compared to nil in the past nine years.   Another Westville example are the area’s figures for shoplifting – only one case – yet the Pavilion shopping centre falls within its jurisdiction.  And, according to the SAPS, crime in Umzinto decreased by 100 percent – that’s not one burglary, carjacking, house robbery or business robbery.

The fact is – if the SAPS top brass expect the people of our country and indeed our province to give any credence to the figures they churn out each year then they should at least be accurate – and they definitely should not be up to 18 months old.

And if a mistake is made, it should be rectified immediately – not some four days later especially when the provincial police commissioner herself has checked and signed it.  This embarrassing blunder has been made all the worse by claims that the figures were not checked by the Auditor-General before being released.

The way to ensure that proper crime statistics are achieved is to provide better oversight powers to the provincial legislature by way of passing a provincial Community Safety Bill. This would ensure that monthly crime statistics are presented and plans to combat crime are achieved now and not months later.

The credibility of the crime stats was debatable before – this episode may be the final nail in the coffin.