Newman also addressed delegates at the 'Towards a Coherent Strategy for Crime Reduction in South Africa Beyond 2010' international conference, held in Sandton, north of Johannesburg, from December 1 to 2.
“The Hub provides information on the overall sense of how crime has changed in South Africa over the past five to seven years. It also provides other types of dynamics that are associated to crime,” he said.
The new website provides up-to-date and historical information and analysis on crime, its prevention and the performance of the criminal justice system, user-friendly access to statistical data in different formats including tables and graphs, interactive crime maps for each police precinct in South Africa; and community safety tips and information.
“The idea for such a Hub was conceptualised about ten years ago through the concept of the Crime and Justice Monitor. However, at that time, the data from the criminal justice system was not as reliable or there were new data sets.
“In the past five to seven years, more consistent data is being released and technology has improved. This Hub is a combination of better information available more regularly, with better technology and broadband,” Newman said.
He added that through the Hub, more information on crime would now become available to researchers, the public, civil society, academia and policymakers, and that there was a lot of information on crime statistics for each of the 1114 police precincts in South Africa for about 30 different types of crimes.
“While information on crime statistics has always been available to the public, the challenge was that this information was difficult to find and not user-friendly. Over the last year, we have put data sets together and are also using mapping technology, enabling individuals to, for example, have access to information about the crime statistics in a country, city or town.”
Newman said that the response from stakeholders in government and the police force has been positive to date.
The Crime and Justice Programme works to inform and improve policy and knowledge about crime, its prevention and the performance of the criminal justice system in South Africa and the Southern African region.