Latest crime statistics reveal

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Latest crime statistics reveal murder and drug crimes up, rape down

The South African annual crime statistics report shows that murder levels increased in the last year by 0.6%, following a 27.2% decrease over the previous nine years. Although levels of rape have dipped, the statistics came under fire from critics who say not enough has changed.

Latest crime statistics reveal

Flikr: ER24 EMS (Pty) Ltd.

Flikr: ER24 EMS (Pty) Ltd.
Flikr: ER24 EMS (Pty) Ltd.

CRIME that affects “ordinary South Africans” has increased on a national level with new efforts urgently needed to reduce it, the Western Cape minister of community safety has said.

Dan Plato spoke following the release of the South Africa police services (SAPS) annual crime statistics report, which appears to reveal that overall crime continues to decline against the increase in population figures over the last nine years.

The SAPS report stated that serious crime arrests increased from 777,140 last year to 806,298 in 2012/2013. The number of serious crime convictions rose from 307,580 in 2011/2012 to 352,513.

Crimes against a person (contact crime) has seen a 38.2% decrease over the last nine years, with a 4.2% decrease over the last financial year, the SAPS statistics show.


Murder levels increased by 0.6%, following a 27.2% decrease over the previous nine years. Attempted murder levels increased by 6.5% after a drop of 51.7% over the last nine years.

Despite being a “bit concerned” about the increase in murder and attempted murder, Mthethwa explained that not all crime had increased. He said, “The positives are that overall crime has gone down and that theft, shoplifting and assault are down.”


Crimes against women fell by 11.1% while crimes against children fell by 12.4% in the last two years.

Although levels of rape have dipped, the statistics came under fire from critics who say not enough has changed.

The number of reported rape attacks and sexual offence levels saw a decrease of 0.4% each over the last year.

Police minister Nathi Mthethwa is “concerned” about the levels of rape in South Africa, noting that a societal change is needed as 80% of sexual crimes happen among acquaintances or within the home.

“Protection of communities is now central to our strategies aimed at reducing incidences of gender-based violence,” he said.

Sexual assault saw a drop of 6.2% over the last year, however this follows three years of successive increases by 13.8%, 14.5% and 14.6% respectively, highlighting the fact that the decrease does not go far enough for levels to be lower than in 2009.

Sky News carried out an “unscientific” survey of 38 men in a township near Johannesburg to get a “snapshot of men’s view on women”.

Of the 38 surveyed, 28 said they had raped a woman at least once.

Their reasons for why they had raped a woman included; a man who felt he was too “ugly” and residential robbery.

Alcohol and drugs

Drug-related crimes saw an increase of 13.5% in 2012/2013. Despite the police “doing all they can” to deal with druglords and destroying drug factories, Mthethwa said more needed to be done to deal with substance abuse as it is an underlying factor in violent crimes.

He said, “We have seen the proliferation of these liquor outlets, both legal and illegal, and if you look at some of the [crime statistics] graphs, some of the murders start with arguments, followed by common assault, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, attempted murder and murder,” SAnews reported.

Plato believes alcohol abuse plays a “major role” in the increased levels of murder and violence. “The police need to close down the thousands of illegal shebeens [bars] as a matter of urgency. I have also repeatedly called on the SAPS to introduce specialised policing units to deal with gangs and drugs in the Western Cape,” he said.


Truck hijacking saw a rise of 14.9% in the last year, car hijacking rose by 5.4%, robbery from a residential premises rose by 3.6% and residential burglary increased 3.3%.

Robbery is classified as breaking into a property, committing theft and using a form of violence. Burglary does not involve violence.

Theft from a motor vehicle saw a 3.6% rise, non-residential burglary increased by 1.7%, drunk driving was up 1.5% and aggravated robbery rose by 1.2%.

Theft of motor vehicles and motorcycles decreased by 4.4% in the last year, shoplifting fell by 3.9%, common robbery fell by 2.2%, illegal possession of a fire arm and ammunition dropped by 0.7% and non-residential robbery was down by 0.6%.

Bank robbery saw the biggest drop year-on-year, with there being a decrease of 80%. There was a 8.7% decrease in arson attacks, 7.9% drop in common assault levels,  7% decrease in theft levels and 6.6% lower levels of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Flikr: hmvh
Flikr: hmvh


Experts have slammed the latest crime statistics and have criticised the use of percentage ratios instead of raw figures.

However SAPS said in a statement, “The use of ratios is not intended to deliberately confuse matters or hide anything. The SAPS uses ratios as it a common international practice when doing comparisons. When using ratios, it is possible to find that although a certain crime category may have decreased, it may show an increase when considering the raw figures.”

SAPS noted that without factoring in population growth to the statistics, the analysis and understanding of the statistics would be “incorrect” and “improper”.

“Normally, one would expect that as the population grows so should crime due to the increased opportunities, particularly contact crime. However, longitudinally, this has not been the case with South Africa, at least in the past nine years,” the statement said.


The portfolio committee on police believes that a holistic approach is needed to significantly reduce crime in the future.

“For us to have a situation whereby we have low levels of crime we need to address socio-economic challenges that have a direct contribution towards crime,” said committee chairperson Annelize van Wyk.

She said that roleplayers need to work together to address job creation, skill development, substance abuse, domestic violence and education. If this is done in a way that promotes social cohesion and tolerance, there should be a reduction in crime, she said.