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News: Department of Police releases Safer Festive Season successes and related crime information

Today the Minister of Police, Mr Nkosinathi Nhleko and the Acting National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane released information relating to the successes achieved through policing operations countrywide throughout the Safer Festive Season #BackToBasics operations embarked upon between the period 1 October and 31 December 2016.

The integrated approach which enabled the participation of law enforcement agencies, including the departments within the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster, had contributed towards the successes and the realisation of our vision of ensuring that all people in South Africa are and feel safe.

The Safer Festive Season #BackToBasics operations were characterised by police visibility realised through patrols, roadblocks, search and seizure operations, deployments in strategic areas specifically the malls as well as investigative operations which resulted in the arrest of wanted suspects and those who were evading the law.

The Department of Police provided good news for all in South Africa, advising inter alia that between October and December 2016 (the duration of the security operations):

  • 83 479 persons were arrested in South Africa
  • The arrests were effected during 705 639 policing operations
  • 1 060 firearms and 8 691 rounds of ammunition were seized
  • 2 443 886 searches were conducted
  • 669 vehicles were seized
  • A large quantity and variety of drugs were seized, for example in the Western Cape on 18 November 2016, a drug dealer was arrested with 31 000 Mandrax tablets.

In the spirit of accountability and transparency, the Department of Police also released information on how these high-visibility, multi-disciplinary operations influenced crime trends and crime statistics over this period.

In terms of “Community-Reported Crimes”, which are broken down into four categories, the good news prevailed as there were decreases in all categories, namely:

  • Contact crimes decreased by 5.3%
  • Contact-related crimes decreased by 5.4%
  • Property-related crimes decreased by 2.2%
  • Other serious crimes decreased by 5.3%

“Crimes detected as a result of police action” are expected to increase, as this reflects a direct correlation between police actions/operations and arrests.  These are broken down into the following categories: 

  • Illegal possession of firearms and ammunition
  • Drug-related crimes
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Sexual offences detected as a result of police action.

In this category there was an overall increase of 8.4% which is extremely positive news as it indicates that targeted police operations have yielded results in these areas. 

When one looks at contact crime, which includes serious offences such as murder, attempted murder, common assault, assault GBH and aggravated robbery:

  • Between the 2014/2015 and the 2015/2016 third quarter (the period under review), there was a 4.4% increase in this category.  However, between the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 third quarter (during the recent Safer Festive Season operations) there was a significant 5.3% decrease in contact crimes.

The South African Police Service and our partners across various law enforcement bodies, government departments and other important agencies, conducted multi-disciplinary operations under the umbrella of the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (the NATJOINTS) to coordinate and successfully implement the safety plan of the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) Cluster. 

“We have noted a very encouraging decrease in crime trends over this past festive season which indicates that we successfully identified threats and implemented actions to counteract and overcome those threats,” said Acting National Police Commissioner, Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane. 

A few significant contributing factors included:

  • High visibility, integrated crime prevention operations in identified areas which included shopping and entertainment locations
  • The deployment of lieutenant generals (Deputy National Commissioners, Divisional Commissioners and Regional Commissioners from Head Office) to provinces to supplement coordination of police operations
  • Provincial Commissioners and other senior management taking command-and-control over operational duties
  • The deployment of 4 953 newly graduated police constables to shopping centres and malls which drastically reduced the incidents of crime on those premises.

Both Minister Nhleko and Lt Gen Phahlane expressed their appreciation for the hard work, commitment and sacrifices of SAPS officials and our counterparts in the JCPS Cluster.

“We particularly appreciate the positive and enthusiastic support of our communities.  We openly acknowledge that without the support of our communities and important stakeholders in the law enforcement environment, we could not have come this far.  We view these successes, translated into decreases in crime statistics, as a major victory in the fight against crime. We have now proved that together we are a winning team.  Thank you, South Africa; it can be done.  Together, moving South Africa forward,” was the message from the leadership of the Department of Police.

Media Enquiries: Sandile Ngidi 060 997 6134 / Brigadier Sally de Beer 082 779 8658

Additional content:
  • Safer Festive Season January Media Briefing 2017 final version (2).pdf