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Johannesburg - Over 45,000 people were arrested in Gauteng since police launched their “Operation Duty Calls” (ODC) crime fighting campaign in September 2012, authorities said on Tuesday.

Provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Mzwandile Petros said the arrests were for crimes including robberies, rape, kidnapping, murder, fraud and shoplifting.

“We bolstered and strengthened the operation with the deployment of members who would normally be on rest days,” he told reporters in Ekurhuleni.

Seven base camps were set up across the province during the operation. It started on September 15, 2012 and would run until January 31.

“We confiscated more than 411,500 litres of alcohol and we will be destroying in excess of 52 500 litres of alcohol, and destroying more than 294 000 counterfeit CDs and DVDs,” he said.

Tip-offs resulted in scores of would-be criminals being arrested.

Fewer cash-in-transit and bank robberies were reported, while no mall robberies were reported.

The number of hijackings and vehicle thefts remained high. Police recovered 2437 stolen vehicles.

A total of 3346 illegal guns and over 47 000 rounds of ammunition were also confiscated.

Petros said police were also increasing their focus on drug dealers.

“For this period, we confiscated six million grams of dagga, 2832 grams of cocaine, 4225 grams of nyaope, 2551 grams of tik, to mention but a few.”

Around 18,508 people were arrested for charges of drug possession or dealing.

At least two premises believed to be drug laboratories were raided and police confiscated drugs worth around R30 million.

He said there had been a surge in farm killings, with at least five attacks reported in the last four months.

In rape cases, police arrested 1357 suspects for rape and 82 for attempted rape. At least 27 of those who were convicted on rape charges were handed life sentences.

One of the biggest achievements for police was ensuring that Hillbrow was safe during New Year's celebration.

“We had the safest New Year celebration, without even one person needing medical attention.”

Petros believed the campaign was successful, but said there was still room for improvement. - Sapa