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Cheap talk won't solve crime

Crime figures released on Tuesday show that we live in a terrifying and dysfunctional society.

The statistics paint a shocking picture and highlight the need for Police Minister Fikile Mbalula to come up with a concrete plan more than rhetoric. About 52 people are murdered and 109 are raped every day.

Armed robbery increased by 8429 cases to 140956, with street robberies totalling 79 878 of those recorded in the 12 months to March 31, 2017.

Analysts say street robberies primarily affect the poor who mainly travel on foot and use public transport.

In the same period there were 22343 house robberies, up 7.3%, and 16717 car hijackings, up 14.5%.

Mbalula has time and again proclaimed that violent criminals will receive a response proportional to their actions, which is good for media sound bites.

What we need is a coherent national strategy in the war against crime.

We need to go back to basics where there are more police officers patrolling streets, especially crime hot spots.

The government also need to put soldiers back at the borders to prevent people illegally entering the country, as this would ease the burden on police officers.

The government also needs to appoint a competent and credible national police commissioner with a good track record.

Negative reports of police officers filmed sorting out their personal affairs or sleeping during working hours while people wait to be served has tarnished the image of our law enforcement.

Members of the public have lost faith in the police for various reasons, including the slow or lack of response when a crime in progress is reported.

In many communities police officers are accused of being in cahoots with criminals or turning a blind eye when a prominent figure is involved.

The government has, year after year, maintained that the fight against crime is a priority, but now citizens need to see measurable and sustainable results.

The crime statistics are also an indication that there is a need for the government to deal with social circumstances at a multi-disciplinary level across society to root out criminality and general lawlessness from our communities.