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ISS finds 'statistical error' in crime stats

The ISS says the 2012/13 statistics compared different population estimates.

The ISS says mistake in the 2012/13 statistics was made in comparing different population estimates.

JOHANNESBURG - The Institute for Security Studies (ISS) has called for an independent commission of inquiry into the latest police crime statistics.

This comes after the institute identified what it calls a "statistical error".

The ISS says this error has given South Africans a false picture of the dangers they face and has played down the increase in violent crimes.

It said the mistake in the 2012/13 statistics was made in comparing different population estimates for the two years.

ISS's Gareth Newham says, "Because the basis of that calculation was incorrect, it understated all the increases in every crime category. For instance, it says that murders are only going up by 0.6 percent when in fact it's going up by 2.8 percent. In some cases, it gave a completely misleading picture."

The institute wants academics and Crime Statistics SA to analyse the data and for police to amend their findings.

It says it is not disputing the raw crime figures, but rather the trends as to whether various crimes are increasing or decreasing.