The crime statistics report has shown that an average of 57 South Africans are murdered every day and is cause for grave concern according to NICRO CEO, Soraya Solomon.
Solomon was also skeptical of national police commissioner Khehla Sitole’s promise that South Africans would never see figures like this again, saying: “NICRO would like to know what plans are in place to ensure a radical decrease in the rates of crime and violence in our country. The annual release of the crime statistics report results in an outcry from political parties, civil society and communities every year, and for good reason. The time has come to put effective strategies in place to ensure the safety of every South African citizen.
“Some 20 percent of all murders committed in the last year were of women and children. This, together with an estimation that only between 10 and 25 percent of sexual offenses are reported, clearly indicates that South Africa is a country in crisis.”
Dwindling police numbers
NICRO claims the number of police officers has dwindled in recent years and that there are also too few police stations. The police force, which has been ineffective in curbing violent crime, has essentially failed the citizens of South Africa.
Their claims are backed up by the fact that Commissioner Sitole admitted earlier in the week that the police service currently has a deficit of 62 000 officers, as well as the fact that there was only enough money for police colleges to run at 70 percent of capacity.
South Africa’s high levels of crime and violence demand an effective police force that is equipped in terms of size, skills and resources to respond to these critical times.
“According to a 2015 ISS report, South Africa spent R126-billion on the criminal justice system but only a mere R9-billion on crime prevention for the year. NICRO would like to see a significant shift with more resources being allocated to crime prevention programs,” explained Solomon.
Urgent action required
NICRO concedes that the problem is complex and that solutions to the high levels of crime and violence are equally complex and challenging, but that urgent action is required to ensure that South Africa does not descend into a state of lawlessness.
“The time has come to stop debating, deliberating and lamenting the high incidence and consequences of crime and spotlighting crime statistics and all that is negative. It is time for positive, proactive action,” Solomon concluded.