Home South African Crime stats: Virtually crime-free ’honeymoon period’ is over, warns Bheki Cele

Crime stats: Virtually crime-free ’honeymoon period’ is over, warns Bheki Cele

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Picture: Henk Kruger/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

The police minister reports that the double-figure ’eye-popping’ increase in most crime categories was informed by the adjusted lockdown levels and distorted crime trends.

Durban – The crime-free period during the hard lockdown last year was short-lived as Police Minister Bheki Cele presented the quarterly crime statistics for April to June this year..

“The very same shock of last year is repeating itself with an exaggerated extreme opposite, to say the least,” Cele said in a briefing on Friday.

He reported that the double-figure “eye-popping” increase in most crime categories was informed by the adjusted lockdown levels and distorted crime trends.

He said that while they would not sweep the high and unnatural figures under the carpet, it is more realistic to compare the statistics to two years ago when there was no lockdown.

“While the double-digit increases don’t necessarily reflect a true picture because they are being compared to an abnormal period when the country was at a standstill. It still means more work must be done to ensure the safety of all those who live within our borders,” Cele said.

Contact crimes such as murder, attempted murder, sexual offences and all categories of assault registered a 60,6% increase, compared to the corresponding period of the previous financial year.

Within three months this year, 5 760 people were murdered in South Africa.

Cele reported that from a sample of 4 467 cases, it was determined that a total of 2 531 people were murdered in public places like on the street, open fields, parking areas and abandoned buildings.

A total of 1 385 murders occurred at the home of the victim or of the perpetrator while 206 of the murders occurred at liquor outlets.

Liquor outlets were the fourth most likely place to be killed in South Africa.

The top four causative factors of these murders were arguments, robberies, mob justice incidents and gang-related killings.

At least 10 006 people were raped between April and June 2021.

This is an increase of 4 201 cases, amounting to a 72.4% increase, compared to the same time last year.

A sample of 5 439 rape cases revealed that 3 766 of the rape incidents took place at the home of the victim or the home of the rapist.

Of the total figures, 487 rape cases were domestic violence-related.

The Inanda police station in KwaZulu-Natal, Delft in the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape’s Lusikisiki police stations recorded the highest incidents of rape.

There were 181 attacks on farms and small-holdings that occurred between April and the end of June this year, with 119 of the incidents recorded as robbery related, resulting in 15 murders.

All assault categories reported double-digit increases compared to the distorted reporting period last year during the hard lockdown.

He said 76 936 cases of common assault and assault GBH were opened with the police in the three months of reporting.

Over 15 000 of the cases were domestic violence-related, meaning the victim and perpetrator had a relationship at the time of the assault.

Cele reported that the top three areas of occurrence of these assaults were at the home of the victim or perpetrator, public places and liquor outlets.

“Arguments are by far the leading causes of the assaults,” he said.

Aggravated robberies such as carjacking increased by 92.2% compared to the previous corresponding period. This figure would have increased by 13.1% if compared to the same period in the previous year when there was no lockdown.

Cele reported that 46 cash-in-transit heists were committed between April and June this year.

“It is clear that the thugs involved in CITs will stop at nothing to get what they want, including killing police officers and putting the lives of innocent people at risk,” he said.

Cele said police were pushing back on this crime trend and, by using intelligence and a combination of shared resources, they would continue to intercept these highly organised gangs.

He reported that in June this year, police conducted a takedown operation in Midrand, where police intercepted a gang of 27 heavily armed members planning a CIT robbery. In the exchange of fire, 23 of them were arrested and four were fatally wounded.

In a separate incident, in Brakpan, police also pounced on a gang plotting a CIT robbery three weeks ago, that resulted in the fatal shooting of a police officer.

He also reported that a total of 32 SAPS members were killed in the first quarter of the 2021/2022 financial year.

SAPS was also hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic with more than 38 000 members infected and 821 officers who died as a result.

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