The latest crime statistics were recently published for the first quarter of the 2021/22 financial period, from April to June 2021. These statistics were published by the South African Police Service and Stats South Africa, and we will look at these statistics in further detail.
Concerning crime in general, the data indicated an increase in crimes, with the majority of crime categories experiencing an increase in the double digits. However, two crime categories saw a decline during this quarter and these crimes were stock theft and burglary at non-residential premises. These two crime categories decreased by 8% and 22.4%, irrespectively.
The latest crime statistics might seem to be significantly inflated due to the country’s lockdowns at the time of the same comparable last quarter. In the 2020/21 first quarter, the country was in the level 5 lockdown. The lockdown ensured that nearly everyone was indoors, and the majority of businesses were also closed, with companies such as liquor outlets, taverns, sporting activities and nightclubs being closed. The closure of these venues might have influenced crime statistics as they are considered causative factors of crime. Proof of this is reflected as the first-quarter crime statistics for 2019/2020 were higher than for the same comparative period in 2020.
Though the country experienced extremely high crime rates, it is crucial that we look at the holistic picture instead of merely looking at the crime statistics for 2020/2021. Looking at the holistic view will reflect that the crime trends are quite normal to how they were two years before when no lockdown measures were in place.
When we look at the figures, we will see that when it comes to contact crimes which include attempted murder, murder, sexual assault and other categories, there was a 6% increase in this category compared to the previous financial year.
In the category of murder, there was a 66.2% increase in the number of murders recorded in the last three months. The number of murders recorded this quarter was 5 760, whereas 3 466 murders were recorded the previous financial year. Though this number is high, when compared to the 2019/20 first quarter, the murder rate increased by 6.7%. From the stations that usually record the top 30 highest murder rates, the Phillipi East, Khayelitsha and Bityi police stations in the Eastern Cape and Western recorded a decline in their murder figures.
A sample of 4 467 cases determined that 2 531 people were murdered in public places, such as an open field, parking areas, streets and abandoned buildings. The number of murders that occurred either in the home of the perpetrator or victim was 1 385.
The top four causes of murder were arguments, mob justice incidents, robberies and gang-related killings. The fourth most likely place to be killed in South Africa, where 206 murders occurred, was liquor outlets.
There was also an increase in attempted murders recorded as 5 145 cases were recorded, compared to the 3 487 recorded for 2020/21, which indicates a 47.5% increase.
The number of sexual offences discovered due to police action was 1 428, which was a 247.4% increase from the previous financial year, which was also the most significant increase in crime categories.
Between the period of April and June 2021, 10 006 people were raped in the country. That is a 72.4% increase by 4 201 cases from the previous reporting period. However, when comparing the rape cases for the period before the lockdown, this figure will indicate a 2.8% increase.
From a sample of 5 439 rape cases, 3 766 of the rape incidents occurred in the home of the rapist or the victim’s home. 487 of the rape cases were also domestic violence-related.
The police stations that recorded the highest rape incidents were the Inanda police station in Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Lusikisiki police station in Eastern Cape. There was also a 47.1% increase in the number of recorded sexual offences compared to the previous reporting period. However, in comparison to the 2019/20 reporting period, this is a 5.0% increase.
Property Related Crimes
There was a 6.0% increase in all property-related crimes, with an 8.0% decrease in stock theft. When comparing these figures with those of 2019/20, this indicates a 13.5% decrease.
There was a decrease in stock theft for six provinces, and the province that recorded the highest number of recorded stock theft was Eastern Cape which recorded less than 398 incidents.
The number of burglaries that occurred at non-presidential premises decreased from 18 840 to 14 627, which shows a decrease of 22.4%. In comparison to the 2019/20 period, this is a 15.3% decrease.
All the categories for assault indicated a double-digit increase compared to the reporting period 2020/21. The number of recorded cases for common assault and assault GBH were 76 936. Arguments were also one of the leading causes of assault cases.
The number of domestic violence-related cases where the perpetrator and the victim had a relationship was over 15 000. The top three areas of occurrence are the home of the perpetrator or victim, liquor outlets, and public places.
The number of recorded trio crimes also increased in comparison to the reporting period for 2020/21. There was a 9.2% increase in aggravated robberies, including carjacking, compared to the previous reporting period.
More 1 340 residential robberies occurred between April and the end of June 2021 compared to the 2020/21 reporting period.
The number of reported cash-in-transit heists committed for this quarter was 46, indicating that 27 more cash-in-transit heists occurred compared to the 2020/21 reporting period. It is also evident to see that the people who commit these crimes are not slowing down. These people are also willing to put innocent people at risk and even kill the police as four of the 15 vehicles that were stolen were found on the scene with high calibre firearms. That is why the police are working to reduce this crime.
When looking at the crime statistics for the first quarter of 2021/22, we must do so with some context. Certain factors influenced the high rates of crime that were reported. The police must do more work to ensure a decrease in crime so that the people in the country feel safer.