The Free State was the best performer in fighting crime in the 12 months between April 2013 and March this year, with the province recording the highest decline in the number of crimes recorded during that period.
National crime statistics released last week by Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko show that when compared with other provinces, the Free State had the highest drop of the so-called trio crimes of house robberies, vehicle hijackings and business robberies.
Crime statistics released by the police every September follow the government financial year running from April 1 to March 31 of the succeeding year.
According to Nhleko’s figures, the Free State recorded an 11.7 percent drop in the trio crimes from a total of 2 271 reported in 2012/13 to 2 005 cases in 2013/14, making it the highest drop in the country in this category of dangerous crimes.
Mpumalanga had the second highest drop with a decline of 1.8 percent in the trio crimes from 2 793 in 2012/13 to 2 743 last year.
But other provinces saw a jump in trio crimes with the Northern Cape recording the highest increase of 21.3 percent from 347 to 421 cases last year.
Gauteng had the second highest increase of 17.9 percent from 16 569 cases in 2012/13 to 19 528 cases last year.
The Eastern Cape was third with an increase of 17.8 percent from 4 370 cases to 5 147 last year.
Free State police MEC Butana Komphela said progress in fighting crime was the result of the province’s 12 061 police officers’ dedication and commitment to duty.
“This result is the sweat and tears of men and women who are loyal to the flag . . . I’m excited beyond measure,” he said.
Komphela said a more pro-active anti-crime strategy has seen murder and other crimes go down in the province.
He added that the Free State would soon launch a narcotics bureau to lead its drive against drug trafficking and related crimes that were on the rise, defying the general downward trend of crime in the province.
Drug-related crimes in the province went up by a staggering 32.9 percent to 8 199 reported cases.
Nationally this type of crime increased from 206 825 to 260 732 cases reported in the 2013/14 period.
But the province maintained its outstanding performance in other serious crimes such as murder with the number of murder cases recorded in the province dropping by 7.5 percent from 1 023 to 946.
Incidents of murder increased nationally from 16 259 murders during the 2012/13 financial year to 17 068 in 2013/14, meaning 809 more people were murdered last year than in the previous year.
Along with murder, contact crimes were generally on the downward trend in the province with 5.1 percent less crimes under this category recorded in the 2013/14 year than were recorded in the year before.
Contact crimes are largely committed against another person or people and may result in them being injured, harmed or threatened during the commission of a crime.
Other forms of contact crimes in the province also declined with common robbery cases dropping by two percent, common assault was down by 3.3 percent, assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm fell by 5.6 percent from 15 385 to 14 531 cases.
Robbery with aggravating circumstances eased 7.8 percent from 5 809 to 53 58 cases and total sexual offences shed 8.3 percent from 5 252 to 4 814 cases.