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Shock surrounds 2013/2014 crime stats

Riah Phiyega and Nkosinathi Nhleko released the figures for the 2013/2014 period in Pretoria earlier today.

Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko speaks at the release of the 2013/2014 annual crime statistics in Pretoria on 19 September 2014. Picture: Sapa.

PRETORIA - There has been general shock following the release of the latest crime statistics, particularly in Gauteng with murder up by more than 11 percent in the province.

Armed robbery with aggravated circumstances is also up by almost 19 percent.

The latest wave of shopping mall robberies has seen a number of tech stores being hit and there are now calls for the crime statistics to be released on a monthly basis so that there can be a better response to trends.

There has however been a drop in the number of sexual assaults reported to police.

Rape Crisis has questioned the validity of the latest statistics on sexual offences.

The organisation's Kathleen Dey says many people don't report sexual crimes.

"It's an issue that we have raised with government time and time again and it is something they are dealing with but it's not something that will change overnight."

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega and Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko released the figures for the 2013/2014 period in Pretoria earlier today.

The Institute for Security Studies (ISS)'s Gareth Newham said it's important for the community to be aware of the crime problems affecting them.

"You can't build partnerships if you deny people information about their safety."

The Democratic Alliance's Dianne Kohler-Barnard said real-time crime statistics should be available at every police station.

"What help is it to a homeowner to find out now that 18 months ago there was a massive increase in hijackings or house robberies in his area? It's no good at all."

However, Phiyega reiterated Cabinet's 2005 decision that the statistics would only be released on an annual basis.

ISS BLAMES CRIME INTELLIGENCE UNIT

The ISS has blamed the significant rise in contact crime on the collapse of the police's Crime Intelligence Unit, in the wake of the Richard Mdluli debacle.

An overall increase in aggravated robbery was revealed in today's stats.

Car hijackings went up by 12 percent in the country and by 22 percent in Gauteng alone.

House robberies, which are among the crimes South Africans fear the most, increased to more than 19,000 recorded incidents, the highest in a decade.

Newham said it requires active police investigations and action to crack down on the criminals responsible for robberies and hijackings.

"If you do not effectively police, in other words if you don't arrest and bring them before the court, then they will continue doing what they do and they'll start becoming role models for others."

He said the attempt to protect Mdluli has crippled the police's ability to conduct such investigations.

"It simply led to large numbers of crime intelligence officials either being forced out of that division or leaving and it takes a long time to develop those kind of skills and capacities."

This is the second year that the crime figures have increased under Phiyega's leadership.

2012/13 NUMBERS:

Murder - 16,259

Sexual offences - 66,387

Robbery with aggravating circumstances - 105,888

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