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Johannesburg - Crime statistics for the past two financial years can be trusted despite claims that they are incorrect, police said on Wednesday.
National spokesman Lt-Gen Solomon Makgale said analysts first criticised the police for using ratios in the statistics, then later argued that the ratios were important but incorrect.
“When we released the latest crime statistics... some of the so-called analysts and experts said crime ratios were not important and alleged that we were using them to conceal the real crime situation in our country,” he said in a statement.
“It is now argued by the same analysts and experts, that crime ratios are crucial and that the population estimates we used for 2011/12 crime ratios are wrong, outdated, and incorrect. This is not true at all.”
He said this argument was interpreted by some to mean the crime statistics of the past two financial years could not be trusted.
“Such interpretation is equally untrue.”
Makgale said the 2011/12 ratios were based on a population estimate of 50.6 million people.
However, according to the Statistics SA 2011 census results, released in October 2012, the estimated population for 2011 was 51.6 million.
“The argument is that we should have used this restated, estimated figure. This would have required us to adjust the crime ratios of 2011/12,” he said.
“Based on our approach, this is not necessary... We should only apply the new population estimates, which are based on the 2011
census results, from the 2012/13 financial period onwards.”
The crime statistics were released by Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa on September 19.
Since then some political parties, experts, and media questioned the use of ratios and the calculations used to determine the results.
Mthethwa said the number of murders increased by 0.6 percent in the past financial year. However, it was down 16.6 percent over the past four years, and 27.2 percent over the past nine years.
There was also a 6.5 percent increase in attempted murder in the year under review. This was in contrast to the 16.8 percent decline over the past four years and the 51.7 percent decline over the past nine years.
Makgale said the police had a particular approach to the statistics, while analysts had their own.
“We don't agree on the approach and there is no policy to guide either of us. In other words, in ten years' time, the country could be subjected to the same confusing debate.”