R65bn crackdown to put criminals away
Murray Williams | Cape Argus | February 23 2012 at 02:06pm
THE perpetrators of more than a million serious crimes a year are getting away free, Treasury documents tabled by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan show.
Criminals who burgle homes and businesses or hijack cars are even more likely to get away, with only 18.25 percent of about 40 000 of these crimes “detected” (resulting in arrest, court appearances and possible conviction) by police, according to Budget documents.
The Treasury yesterday presented exact targets by which the SAPS wants to reduce crime – supported by billions of rand to fight criminals.
The total police budget was set at R65 billion, a 6.8 percent rise.
Budget documents showed a total of just over 2 million serious violent crimes in the past financial year – which police have targeted to drop by 100 000 this financial year, by a further 40 000 next year and another 30 000 in the 2014/15 financial year.
In the meantime, though, the total detection figure for “serious crimes” was 51.84 percent, meaning half the perpetrators of about 2 million of these crimes went free.
The government’s target is for the detection rate, which could result in a successful conviction, to increase by just under 10 percent in the next three years – which would mean police would have to catch around 100 000 more criminals a year by 2014/15.
Of the 2 million serious crimes, between 629 000 and 649 000 were “contact crimes”. The target is for police to cut this by a third, around 200 000 violent crimes, by 2014/15.
A second focus is “trio crimes”, which comprise house robbery, business robbery and hijacking.
Police, supported by Gordhan’s Budget, want the current total of about 40 000 of these robberies reduced to between 31 555 and 35 828. The detection rate for these three crimes was 18 percent – which police want raised to 34 percent within three years.
Better news was that for all perpetrators of serious crimes caught by police, the current conviction rate appeared to be a healthy 88.2 percent.
To improve policing, the Budget provided resources for police to generate “original previous conviction reports” within 16 days – by 2014/15 – presumably to help courts sentence the potentially most dangerous or repeat criminals appropriately.
Detailing the success of “visible policing”, the Budget documents recorded that 13 784 stolen or robbed vehicles had been recovered between last April and September. During the same period, police arrested 348 240 people.
To fight crime in the coming financial year, the Budget reported that 92 097 policemen and women would be part of “visible policing”.
The police’s “specialised investigations” agencies had successfully “terminated” 57 organised crime groups and closed 32 clandestine drug laboratories.
Crime intelligence operations had netted 10 016 criminals and recovered stolen goods worth R1.3bn. A total of R658.3m would be spent on a new forensic laboratory in the Western Cape.
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