Editor's Note -  Minister Bheki Cele had it right from the outset as he addressed MPs in Parliament: the 2017/18 crime statistics were no source of joy. He went further: 57 murders a day bordered on a war zone.

There was no sugar-coating our crime statistics, Cele knew that. Law-abiding citizens feel threatened, no matter the statistics or any downward arrows. People will not be comforted until they sense a significant reduction in the constant, ubiquitous menace of crime.

Reported crimes may be down by 76163 from the previous year, but there were still 1662815 in 2017/18 (4555 a day). This remains alarming.

In 2017/18, 20336 people were murdered - 1320 (6.9%) more than the previous year. This was the highest annual murder toll in the last decade. KwaZulu-Natal took the undesirable provincial title of most murders: 4382, 368 more than the previous year.

Then there were sexual offences: 50108, or an average of 137 daily. In KZN, it was 8759. Rape was dominant in this category, a source of immense shame to our country.

Power to Cele’s hand, then, in directing and energising police to re-establish respect for the law and those who enforce it.

The Mercury