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Hope that crime stats will drop even more

The Institute for Security Studies on Thursday said South Africans should expect a considerable...

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and National Police commissioner General Bheki Cele. Picture: Taurai Maduna/Eyewitness News

The Institute for Security Studies on Thursday said South Africans should expect a considerable improvement in the crime statistics next year, thanks to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa on Thursday announced that the annual statistics for murder, aggravated robbery and sexual offenses had dropped.

The institute’s Johan Burger was confident an increase in the number of police officers and special tactics like targeted patrols in crime hotspots during the World Cup were effective.

”I certainly do expect that especially with the efforts around the World Cup, prior to the World Cup, during the World Cup and after the World Cup that this should have an impact,” said Burger.

But he conceded that the circumstances were extraordinary.

”Keep in mind that for more than a month all leave was cancelled in the police, so the police were able to put more people in the field and increase visibility more than normal,” said Burger.

Burger said the police gained from the experience.

REACTION TO CRIME STATS

Business Unity South Africa CEO Jerry Vilakazi said he was glad to see a drop in the number of bank robberies, cash in transit heists and the hijackings of cars and trucks.

But he said there were still areas of concern.

“There still needs to be more attention and focus especially in the areas where you have small-medium companies that are not able to invest large amounts of money into security,” said Vilakazi.

While the national crime statistics showed the murder rate had dropped, it was still unclear whether farm murders had decreased as well.

The Freedom Front Plus believes government was shying away from the matter and had gone back on its word to expose the amount of farmers who had been killed in <?xml:namespace prefix="st1" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"?><country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">South Africa</country-region>.

The party’s Pieter Groenewaldt said Mthetwa agreed to keep farm murders as a separate statistic as was the case pre-2007.

“We are of the believe that it shows that there is an increase in farm murders but the minister does not want to give it and that is why we are saying he is shying away,” said Groenewaldt.

PROMISES OF LESS CRIME IN GAUTENG

Gauteng police were confident that the province’s crime statistics would drop in the next year with a new police commissioner at the helm.

Mzwandile Petros took over from Perumal Naidoo at the beginning of the month.

Gauteng remains the most violent province with 50 percent of the country’s crime, despite the fact that murder figures have dropped by 13.7 percent, sexual offences dropping by 14.6 percent and hijackings going down by 2.8 percent.

The police’s Govindsamy Mariemuthoo said he was confident violent crime will drop even further.

“General Mzwandile Petros has brought crime down in the Western Cape. He has various strategies that he will announce mater with regards to reducing crime,” said Mariemuthoo.