UNPROVEN: Police chief claims crime decrease with incomplete data

Ndeitunga-Operation Kalahari Desert-misconduct

Unproven

The statements, information and/or claims referenced in this article have been assessed and could not be proved.

26th February 2020

Frederico Links

Frederico Links is the editor and lead researcher of Namibia Fact Check and a research associate at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR)

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Image courtesy: One Africa TV

Recently Namibian Police chief Ndeitunga misleadingly claimed a drop in crime using crime figures for only three quarters of the 2019/20 financial year.

Inspector-general Sebastian Ndeitunga made the claim in a statement released to the media on 3 February 2020 by the head of the police’s public relations division, deputy commissioner Kaunapawa Shikwambi.

The claim of a year-on-year reduction in crime was widely reported on locally and even internationally.

The screenshot of an NBC report on Ndeitunga’s statement.

However, despite the reports of a reduction in crime for the 2019/20 financial year, the police statement clearly indicates that the figures cited for 2019/20 were for only three quarters of the year (up to end December 2019), compared to full-year figures for the preceding years, going all the way back to 2014/15.

The misleading police claim of a drop in crime as visualised in a statement released in early February 2020.

Namibia Fact Check has established a number of issues with the police statement and claim, specifically:

  • It is misleading to compare three reporting quarters of 2019/20 with full-year figures for the previous five financial years (from 2014/15 to 2018/19), as such a comparison is bound to produce a lower figure. The last quarter of the 2019/20 financial year only ends on 31 March 2020, almost two full months beyond when the claim was made, meaning that a credible comparison of year-on-year crime figures will only be possible at some point after 1 April 2020;
  • The police statement claims that 73 299 crimes were reported between 1 April 2019 and 31 December 2019. But a calculation of the quarterly figures presented for 2019/20 adds up to 72 969 reported crimes, which is a difference of 330;
  • While 2018/19 saw a marked spike in reported crime (to over 100 000, compared to just over 93 000 reported crimes for 2017/18), the five-year average for reported crime seems to be about 93 500 reported crimes per year, and 2019/20 appears to be on track to trend in line with the average of the previous five years (from 2014/15 to 2018/19);
  • Since Operation Kalahari Desert started on 1 April 2019, the number of reported crimes have actually shown a quarter-on-quarter increase – 23 693 in Q1, 24 013 in Q2 and 25 263 in Q3 – and not a decrease. In short, reported crimes have actually increased on a quarterly basis while Operation Kalahari Desert was running.
Given these issues and the fact that full-year reported crime figures for 2019/20 will only be available after 1 April 2020, inspector-general Ndeitunga’s claim of a reduction in reported crime is questionable and rated as unproven.

Namibia Fact Check will endeavour to follow-up on this story once updated crime figures are available.

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