Our crime stats are different to SAPS stats‚ says Sabric

The crime stats are might not be accurate says Sabric.
The crime stats are might not be accurate says Sabric.

Questions are being raised about the accuracy of the latest annual crime statistics released by the SA Police Service (SAPS)‚ with the SA Banking Risk Information Centre [Sabric] revealing that its database contains almost 150 more heists than what the police have reported.

SAPS management announced in parliament on Tuesday that 238 heists occurred between April 1 2017 and March 31 2018. For the same period Sabric recorded 385 heists.

It is not only the discrepancies in heists which are being questioned‚ but also the SAPS crime detection figures‚ crimes the public reports‚ murders and attempted murders‚ which‚ says the University of SA (Unisa) criminologist‚ Rudolph Zinn‚ needs to be probed.

Sabric CEO Kalyani Pillay told SowetanLIVE that for the same period the SAPS recorded its statistics‚ Sabric's database showed that there were 385 heists.

She said its figures included attacks on vehicles travelling on the road‚ attacks on cash guards collecting or delivering money while walking across pavements‚ as well as all the different modus operandi involved in committing heists.

"Our figures‚ which we have for the same period‚ which are recorded daily‚ are not the same as those the police have reported. They are more."

Pillay said she did not know if the SAPS were only recording the attacks on vehicles or if they were also recording cross-pavement attacks.

"What we can say‚ and which compares with the SAPS data‚ is that for the period between April 1 2018 to August 1 2018‚ there has been a decrease in cash heists."

Zinn told SowetanLIVE that while an analysis of the statistics shows that crime has decreased overall compared with the previous financial year‚ one needed to take into account whether the reported crimes were an accurate reflection of what had occurred.

"Stats SA shows that when it comes to the reporting of crime there is a huge under reporting‚ with a 51% under reporting in crimes such as burglary.

"If Stats SA shows 51% under reporting when it comes to burglary it gives you a very different picture of the number of crimes which are actually occurring."

He said the under reporting of crime was supported if one looked at the 11% decrease in the number of crimes reported by the public to the police in the 2008-2009 financial year compared to the number of crimes the public reported to the police in the 2017-2018 financial year.

"It's clear that less crime is being reported to the police. Whether this is due to a lower crime rate or loss in confidence in the police is difficult to judge and needs to be probed."

Zinn said what also needed to be looked at was the SAPS increased crime detection rate through their own actions.

"The SAPS provided figures for crime detection through their own action for the categories of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition‚ drug-related crimes‚ driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs‚ and sexual offences detected as a result of police action.

"The increases were significant with a 132% increase in crimes detected through police action for these categories over the past 10 financial years with the number of detected crimes rising from 186‚988 for these specific categories to 433‚966.

"But‚ while this is good‚ one needs to look at them in conjunction with the decrease in the public reporting crimes to police. How is it that the police are detecting more crimes but communities are reporting fewer crimes? One needs to probe if the police's detection rate is really having an impact and actually preventing crimes such as robbery‚ or whether the cops are simply focusing more on crimes which they can easily prevent.

"One just hopes that they are not neglecting other types of crimes."

Zinn said there was also something peculiar about the murder and attempted murder increases‚ "which we usually see a close correlation between.

"Murder increased by 6.9% while attempted murder increased by only 0.2%. This needs to be probed because we do not know if people are becoming more successful when using lethal force or if there is a problem with the crime statistics."

Asked about the discrepancies in heists‚ and questions by criminologists over the figures of certain crimes‚ police spokesperson‚ Brigadier Vish Naidoo‚ said their data was accurate and was based on what was reported to parliament's portfolio committee on police.

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