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Crime statistics: War is on

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Upon the release of the national crime statistics on Tuesday the Democratic Alliance (DA) in Limpopo has raised alarm with a perceived misinterpretation projecting the Police in Limpopo as black sheep in almost 3 000 cases of perpetrated sexual offences provincially. Contrary to this, the national state of affairs reflects an opposing picture of actual successes achieved through Police action having increased from 1 905 arrests to 2 917 the past year.
Quoting the latest figures referencing “sexual offences as result of Police action” as per national breakdown, DA Legislature Member and DA Limpopo Spokesperson on Safety, Security and Liaison Katlego Phala issued a statement on Tuesday drawing attention to, among others, sexual offences by Police having grown by 53,1%. In her statement she alerted the media to the fact that even though civilian sexual offence cases had dropped from 4 423 to 4 312 translated into a 2,5% decrease, sexual offences as result of Police action had risen from 1 905 to a shocking 2 917, accounting for the 53,1% increase. She later confirmed that the available statistics were interpreted as sexual offences committed by Police officials. However, when the statistics were clarified with the Police, it was pointed out that the statistics pertained to sexual offences detected by Police and in actual fact was a positive reflection on the effectiveness of Police action.
Apart from a positive response in the investigation of sexual offences having been committed in the province, the Police in Limpopo can only boast positive results in statistics pertaining to a mere three other categories of commercial crime, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition as well as burglaries at residential premises. The good news is sharply contrasted by percentage increases in 22 other categories varying from contact crime to lesser crimes.
Elaborating on the statistics, Phala continued to state that the Police were failing dismally in the fight against crime in the province. Phala stressed that the DA in Limpopo intended approaching the Safety and Security Portfolio Committee Chairperson of the Legislature to summon Provincial Police Commissioner Fannie Masemola and MEC for Safety, Security and Liaison Mapula Mokaba-Phukwana to account for the increase in crime and answer on failure to have specialised units reintroduced.
Congress of the People (Cope) also added its voice to concern over the Limpopo scenario. Cope Provincial Secretary Erick Mohlapamaswi expressed scepticism about the validity and authenticity of the statistics released nationally.
“It is our strong conviction that the statistics are only a tip of an iceberg.” He continued saying Cope was very concerned about Limpopo’s crime statistics as it was one of the provinces contributing to the poor national statistics and added that Limpopo was not safe anymore. In conclusion Mohlapamaswi called upon Masemola to outline the provincial strategy on how to cap the heinous crimes.
African National Congress (ANC) Limpopo Spokesperson Aluwani Netsianda commented saying the ruling party in the province was pleased with the reduction in crime and also with the fact that the province contributed to only 5,6% of the national crime figures. While they were happy that there had been a drop in percentages in many crime categories, they were still concerned about crimes like robbery with aggravating circumstances and drug-related cases having gone up, he indicated. They wanted to commend the Police for doing their job and the citizens of Limpopo, for the annual results spoke volumes about changes in behavioural patterns, Netsianda concluded.
Comment from Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Provincial Leader Michael Mathebe remains outstanding.

Story: YOLANDE NEL
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Photo: MEC for Safety, Security and Liaison Mapula Mokaba-Phukwana.