It was an important event yesterday when Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa released comprehensive statistics about crime in this country for the 2010/2011 year. We as citizens of this country need to know how serious the crime situation is and what types of crimes are being committed, so while Mthethwa is to be praised for what he has done, it is not nearly enough. Releasing statistics once a year, six months after the close of that year, does very little to help citizens cope with day-to-day criminality. Knowing that there were a lot of robberies in Grahamstown eight months ago does little to help you face the situation now. The long time lapse also makes it difficult to verify whether these statistics accurately reflect what is actually happening on the ground. It seems reasonable to believe that the police compile statistics on a weekly, if not a daily basis – how else can they compile figures for the year? It would also be reasonable to presume that the police know where these crimes are committed. If they have all this data, why do they not release it on a weekly basis so that people can know where rapists congregate and at what time of the day or night? What conceivable purpose is there in hiding this information? A more regular release of statistics would either enhance their credibility, or blow them out of the water completely. There are many doubts about the accuracy of the latest release. Some residents intuitively feel that because they have heard about so many muggings, the figures quoted in the stats release appear to be implausibly low. The statistics release would also be more useful if they contained information regarding arrests and prosecutions. It would be interesting to know that of the 80 cars stolen over the last year, how many cars were recovered or how many arrests were made. We could then have a better idea about whether the police are being effective in crime prevention. Mthethwa’s release yesterday was interesting, but there is still a lot more that the police should be telling us.