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Violent crimes remain a problem in SA

The police’s annual crime statistics will be announced on Tuesday in Cape Town.

Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

PRETORIA - The South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) has warned that if the murder rate increases for a second consecutive year, it will break the long-term decline in the murder rate experienced since 1994.

The institute released its study of crime trends in Johannesburg on Wednesday, just days ahead of the police's annual crime statistics announcement next Tuesday in Cape Town.

It found that while crime trends in general were on a downward trajectory, violent crime remained a problem.

The institute's Frans Cronje said the murder rate had fallen by more than 50% in the last 20 years, which is a positive trend. However, that trajectory has recently changed.

"In the last two years, the murder rate flattened out and then last year increased for the first time. If there is second increase in the murder rate this year or even if the flattening out has just continued, we'd have probably have broken the long-term decline in murder rates in the country."

Cronje urged the police to work closely with the private security industry, where many skilled former police officers were now employed.

He said this sector now employed about 500,000 people, more than double the number of police officers.

The institute says the police should tap into the skills and resources that exist in the private security industry to advance the fight against crime.

"Many of the skills that used to sit in the police have probably migrated into the private industry. Certainly a lot of technology in fighting crime now exists in that industry and probably the balance of the best detective skills in the country sit in the private sector."

He says he expects this to continue when the statistics are announced next week.