A confident table of politicians and police leaders faced the media in parliament on Thursday, 20 September 2012. The annual release of the crime statistics is a big media event and these officials were in a positive mood because they could once again report reductions in most categories of serious crime. This was not too surprising as for the past decade total levels of crime have decreased by 25%. However, the rate of decrease is very slow and slowed down further in the past year. At the current rate at which murder is decreasing it will take South Africa around 36 years before our murder rate reflects the international average of seven murders per 100 000. Given that the government has no clear strategy based on initiatives that are proven to reduce violent crime, it is unlikely that we will see the kind of reductions possible with our available resources.
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ISS Head of Crime and Justice Programme Gareth Newham analyses the latest crime stats.