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Crime stats: Nhleko to focus on crime intelligence

The police minister says it's concerning that major crime categories have increased.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko says he will definitely now concentrate on crime intelligence following the release of the 2013/2014 statistics which show that serious crimes have increased dramatically.

The national murder rate is up by 5 percent and attempted murder by 4.6 percent.

There has been widespread criticism that police intelligence has suffered due to the charges and debacle surrounding Former Crime Intelligence Head Richard Mdluli.

Nhleko also said communities have to work with police to bring these rates down.

He said he is worried that the major crime categories have increased.

The African National Congress's National Executive Committee (NEC) is set to analyse the latest crime statistics at its meeting in Pretoria this evening.

The party's Gwede Mantashe says the three day NEC gathering will deal with numerous issues including crime and service delivery.

Political parties have also reacted to release of the statistics with the Freedom Front Plus saying South Africa's murder figure is nearly five times that of the world average.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) says the murder rate in the country is reflective of a "war zone" with an average of 47 murders a day.

MURDER IN GAUTENG UP BY 11 PERCENT

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 said 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."

'COMMUNITIES SHOULD BE AWARE OF CRIME'

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 DA'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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