Reduce the number of guns and you will reduce crime in South Africa.
That is what non-profit Gun Free South Africa (GFSA) said on Tuesday after the release of the 2017/18 crime statistics.
Guns were the weapon of choice for more than four out of every 10 murders (41.3%) and almost six out of 10 aggravated robberies (59.5%).
“Violent crime has not been this high since late 1990‚ when the number of guns in South Africa peaked.
“The vast majority of these crimes involve handguns: Between 1999/2000 and 2013/14‚ handguns were used in 94% of murders and 97% of aggravated robberies‚” GFSA said.
The organisation said police operations had reduced the number of guns by recovering and destroying them – but this was reversing.
“As the number of guns in South Africa declined between 2000 and 2010‚ so too did violent crime. However‚ in 2011 these gains began reversing as evidence of poor gun control emerged‚” said GFSA.
Chairperson Ronald Menoe said fraud‚ corruption and dereliction of duty in the police led to a steady increase in the number of guns available since 2011.
“Experience shows that the crime epidemic threatening public safety can be treated. Interventions to reduce the number of guns in circulation between 2000 and 2010 saved thousands of lives nationally in these 10 years. Thousands more can be saved if [the] government takes urgent and decisive action to decrease the ready availability of guns in our communities.”
Gun Free South Africa wants police minister Bheki Cele and police commissioner general Khehla Sitole to:
- Continue recovering and destroying unwanted‚ obsolete and illegal guns;
- Review and upgrade weapons storage and destruction facilities; and
- Simplify the administration of guns by amending the Firearms Control Act of 2000.
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