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MPs call for urgent steps in combating upward trend in contact crimes

The statistic show that the national murder rate is now 34 per 100,000, up from 33 last year.

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko briefing the media on the 2015/16 crime statistics. Picture: Xolani Koyana/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Parliamentarians have stressed the upward trend in contact crimes, which includes murder, attempted murder, assault and sexual offences, have to be addressed as a priority.

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko, accompanied by South African Police Services senior officials briefed Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Police, where it was revealed murder was up by 4.9 percent in the 2015/16 financial year.

Overall, contact crimes have gone up by 1 percent.

Police Committee chairperson Francois Beukman said citizens have to play a part.

"Because most of the contact crime is between people who know each other, so it's really I think duty on community members to become involved with their community policing forums but also to ensure that they work together with the police in fighting the scourge."

Democratic Alliance Member of Parliament Zakhele Mbele said it appears crime fighting is regressing.

"There has been stagnation in many categories where the numbers we saw 10 years ago are still the same numbers, so we're not making a turnaround and this remains rooted in the chronic neglect under the police for the past 10 years."

The Freedom Front Plus' Pieter Groenewald raised concern about the consistent increase in contact crimes over the last four years.

MURDER RATE TOO HIGH

At the same time, Parliamentarians called on police management to do more to ensure crime is reduced.

The statistic show that the national murder rate is now 34 per 100,000, up from 33 last year.

Beukman has welcomed drop in some crimes including sexual offences, but is concerned about an increase in contact crimes.

"It's essential that the police services ensure that from a policing point of view, in terms of visibility as well as crime detection, that more effort is made to decrease the figures."

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