Plan for monthly Joburg crime stats ‘won’t be magic fix’
A criminologist says JMPD is better off focusing on their work and staying out of SAPS’s way
Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba on Monday announced the city would from now on release metro crime statistics once a month in a bid to reduce crime, but an expert has warned there is no magic fix to the problem.
Mashaba, alongside Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) chief David Tembe, said the data to be released would not overlap with the crime statistics handled by the SA Police Service (SAPS).
National government only releases crime statistics once a year.
Criminologist Rudolph Zinn said the metro police’s data would be helpful, but would still not give a bigger picture on crime trends in the city.
“That information has to come from the police. The information from the city metro police departments will be limited to the geographical area of the Johannesburg metro and any other metros which embark on such a move.
“What this announcement tells us, is that this is more of a management tool for the city rather than a crime trend report. The city officials will be able to tell from this data what situations their officers face on the road, what training they need and also what crimes and offences their members spend most of their time dealing with,” Zinn said.
He said one would expect metro police to spend more time dealing with traffic and bylaw offences, and not to start duplicating the work of the SAPS.
“If they do … this may create possible conflicts of interest and friction between the two organisations.”
According to the JMPD statistics released by Mashaba and Tembe on Monday, seven people were arrested for murder, nine for attempted murder, 21 for possession of explosives and 28 people for hijacking between January and August.
During the same period in 2017, 49 people were arrested for hijacking, eight for murder and 12 for attempted murder.
Mashaba’s spokesperson Luyanda Mfeka said the city had been planning the release of the statistics for some time, “because ultimately while policing is the responsibility and competency of the SAPS, including the collection of crime statistics, the city has a responsibility to do all it can to help reduce crime”.
eThekwini metro police spokesperson Superintendent Parboo Sewpersad said while they kept data on arrests, it would only be released on request.
JP Smit, Cape Town city’s mayoral committee member for safety and security and social services, said the city was planning to release all of its law enforcement, traffic metro police and fire station statistics on to its website. “The London Metro Police provide live data constantly on their website. The data which the police have is not their data. It is critical data which belongs to the citizens of the country and should be provided regularly.”
Nelson Mandela Bay metro spokesperson Mthubanzi Mniki said the city would not be releasing its metro statistics, “as crime stats are the competency of the ministry of police”.
Neither the City of Tshwane nor Buffalo City in East London responded to questions from Times Select about the release of their metro police statistics...