The cluster, led by Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe, addressed the media yesterday, giving an update of the cluster's ongoing work, the state BuaNews agency reports.
Radebe said for the first time in the period under review, the murder rate had dropped by 6.5 percent, attempted murder by 12.2 percent and sexual offences by 4.4 percent. "These decreases were achieved through various interventions, including proper planning, police visibility and coordination with other security agencies. "Whilst we note a decrease in sexual offences, we remain seriously concerned about the increase in rape cases," he said.
In an effort to tackle the issue, he said they had begun to reintroduce the South African Police Service Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences units to focus on crimes among vulnerable groups. "We have also attended to improving infrastructure such as Victim Friendly Rooms at police stations, Thuthuzela Care Centres, Domestic Violence Shelters and Places of Safety throughout the country.
"All these are done in an effort to ensure the centrality of the victim, particularly a vulnerable victim," he said. Radebe highlighted that they noted a recent increase in ATM bombings and these could be attributed to the "heat that the criminals are feelings in bank robberies as well as cash-in-transit-heists". "Intensive detective and intelligence work, supported by various agencies, is currently underway to hunt, arrest and prosecute those responsible for the crimes," he said.
In the fight against organised crime, he said that the Directorate of Priority Investigations (Hawks) had since arrested the country's 50 most wanted criminals. He said that unit had also recently arrested over 20 rhino poachers, BuaNews added. Radebe said that while they were encouraged by the declining crime trends, "we remain concerned about the levels of crime, particularly crimes against women, children and the elderly."
He reiterated that they would "spare neither strength nor effort" in ensuring that everyone in the country was safe.
He added the 2011 Victims of Crime Survey indicates that victims of crime are beginning to see results in the fight against crime and the improvement in the treatment of victims. "Among other things, the survey found that over 40 percent of households felt that the level of both violent and non-violent crime had decreased in their area of residence during the period 2008 to 2010," he said.
He further said of those surveyed, about 60 percent of households were satisfied with the way police and courts were doing their work. The 2011 survey also revealed that 32.1 percent of households recorded that levels of crime had increased, compared to 2007 where 57.1 percent felt that crime had increased. With regard to personal safety, 88.2 percent and 27 percent felt safe walking in the areas during the day and at night respectively, compared to 2007 when the response was 76 percent and 23 percent respectively.
Radebe said Victim Surveys will continue on an annual basis under the auspices of Statistics South Africa to monitor perceptions of the public and victims of crime.
"The results of these surveys will help government to develop targeted interventions in line with what the people in South Africa feel are areas of serious concern supported by the trends."
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