Two hundred new metro police officers who will be deployed around Durban were introduced to the public last week. Leon Lestrade 
African News Agency (ANA )
DURBAN - R160bn. That was the combined amount received by the SAPS and private security companies in the 2017/2018 financial year to combat crime.

Yet the crime statistics released last week show only partial success was achieved by the force and the firms, with more than 1 million crimes slipping through their fingers.

Economist David Shapiro of Sasfin said the big spend on security posed a threat to the economy.

“It’s a sad day when we have to invest this kind of money in security, and people are spending this over and above taxes,” he said.

“What does this do to our future investments? People will not want to live, or invest, in a country where crime is at a high rate, despite the billions spent to protect citizens. Do not underestimate what this means to our economy.”

The crime statistics reveal that more than 1.66 million criminal cases, including robbery and sexual assault, were reported to police between April 2017 and March 2018.

Four hundred and thirty-three thousand crimes were detected by police, who revealed that, again, more murders were committed in KwaZulu-Natal than in other provinces, with an average of 12 people killed each day.

The statistics showed a decline in car-jacking and residential and business robberies.

Dr Johan Burger, a researcher at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), said while the statistics showed crime had decreased in some categories, people had become increasingly afraid of becoming victims of crime.

“Through social media and traditional media we are becoming more aware of criminal elements around us. Those who can afford it are spending huge amounts on electric fences, burglar guards, alarm systems, and services of an armed response company.”

ISS researchers said in a 2017 report called “Reducing Violence in South Africa” that such expenditure was “not surprising since the criminal justice system is largely reactive, and comes into effect only after a crime has been committed”.

Spokesperson for Blue Security Andreas Mathios said security companies were investing in advanced technology to prevent crime.

Acting KZN Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi said police would remain committed to reducing incidents of crime, particularly murder.

“We will focus on greater enforcement of the Liquor Act at places where liquor is consumed, as most murders took place around these areas,” he said.

SUNDAY TRIBUNE