Reported crimes in Maputo in the period May 2005-April 2006 are down by six per cent over the previous 12 months according to a report from the city police. There were 10,234 crimes reported in the 2005/06 period compared with 10,936 the previous year. The decrease concerns crimes against both people and property and there was also a reduction in the use of firearms. However, these statistics mask the fact that the number of murders actually rose from 82 in the 2004/05 period to 104 the following year and they do not take into account the many crimes that go unreported, especially sexual offences.
Road accidents in the capital have also fallen by six per cent in the same period 1,438 in 2005/06 compared with 1,523 in 2004/05 but the number of road deaths has risen: 133 in the last year against 110 the year before.
The report also highlights the difficulties facing police in the capital due to lack of resources. There are currently 3,574 police in Maputo for an estimated population of two million people, or 1 for every 560 inhabitants. However, of these only about two thirds actually patrol the citys streets, while the remainder are desk officers or are disabled or chronically ill. They have at their disposal 12 patrol cars and 24 motorbikes plus 50 special police bicycles donated by the United States (US) embassy earlier this year as part of efforts to improve community policing in Maputo.