By James Letuka, DA MPL in the Free State Provincial Legislature:
Statistics released today indicate that contact crimes remain high and that car and truck jacking on Free State roads are on a steady increase.
According to the SAPS, murder increased by one additional case from 942 to 943 reported cases. One murder is one too many and almost a 1000 murders annually is a real tragedy. There was a 9.9% drop in attempted murder cases from 906 to 816 reported cases.
The number of reported sexual offences saw a reduction of 490 cases (-10.7%) from 4584 to 4094, but this crime is severely under reported as sexual assault victims fear further victimisation and stigmatisation.
House burglary declined by 700 incidents (-4.3%) from 18314 to 15614 reported incidents and house robbery by 35 incidents (-4.6%) from 753 to 718 cases.
Stock theft across the province showed a 12.9% decrease in reported cases from 4051 to 3527 incidents. While these statistics appear positive, stock theft has increasingly become an under reported crime.
There are serious questions surrounding the validity of the crime statistics released today. The statistics are outdated and cannot serve as a true reflection of crime patterns in the province. Almost 7000 case dockets were archived by the SAPS in the Free State instead of being investigated.
The DA is disappointed that rural murders have not been reported on separately. Violent attacks in our rural farming communities are on a steady increase. The DA has long called for the establishment of dedicated and specialised rural safety units within the SAPS and that incidents of violent rural attacks be reported on as a stand-alone crime in the publication of the annual crime statistics.
In addition, the SAPS in the Free State are extremely under-resourced with a severe shortage of vehicles at their disposal making it extremely difficult for the SAPS to prevent and respond to violent crimes that target rural communities.
The DA would also like to acknowledge the dedication shown by committed police officers in the fight against crime and we extend our gratitude to them for the many sacrifices they make to keep our communities safe with the limited resources they have at their disposal.
The DA has already called for an independent audit of these crime statistics and have made several recommendations on how to reform the reporting and application of crime statistics in the fight against crime.
The scourge of unemployment fuels gangsterism and gang-related crimes. The DA’s economic policy will unlock economic opportunities that will create jobs, unlike the current state of our economy with limited opportunities for a few. A growing and prosperous economy will see a steady reduction in crime.
Crime affects each and every citizen. It rips our families apart and deny us the opportunity to live the happy, safe and prosperous lives we should be living in a free and fair society. A DA government will ensure that the SAPS are well-trained and resourced to keep our communities safe.