SA’s Shocking Crime Stats Revealed

With 2.1 million serious crimes reported in one year, the stats show that crime is not going anywhere in our rogue state.
Jason Snyman
The South African Police Service has released its crime stats for the 2016/17 period. For the first time in 15 years, these have arrived later than the usual September release. The crime stats cover 21 crime categories. 17 of these categories are reported by the public, and the remaining four are as a result of police activity. So, as stated by our police minister, Fikile Mbalula, the 17 crime categories should decrease, while the four should increase – to show effective policing. The keyword here, of course, is should. As it stands, most people only report for insurance purposes. Corruption is a disconcerting reality in South Africa. Police response to a crime may be swift, but that doesn’t stop them from accepting bribes from the criminals and bungling the case. Murder victims are just another chilling statistic. Police have even been reported to aid in crimes. These could be extorting young woman driving alone at night or accepting payoffs from drug dealers. Mbalula went so far as to declare 'anarchy' in the ranks of police crime intelligence services. He claimed there is no stability in it's leadership and said; "we are running a rogue state." Alas, let’s take a look at the stats.

The Most Crime-Ridden Areas in South Africa

The stats revealed which police stations in South Africa recorded the most crimes in this period. They also give us an indication on how they’ve improved or worsened since last year. The most populated provinces in the country, Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal and the Western Cape, predictably recorded the highest levels of crime. In South Africa, we have approximately 1140 police stations. Crimes are generally reported at the station in or closest to the area. This gives us a good indication of the crime levels in that general region. There were a total of 2.1 million serious crimes reported in 2017. Overall, this is up from last year by 0.12%. Contact crimes, including murder, attempted murder and sexual offences, as well as common assault and robbery are down by 2.4%. Contact-related crimes, such as arson or malicious damage to property are down by 3.3%. Other serious crimes, including commercial crime, shop-lifting, and all other types of theft are down by just over 2%. This also includes aggravated robbery, such as hijacking, robbery at residences, cash-in-transit heists and bank robberies. Crimes detected as a result of police action cover crimes discovered by active policing. These include things such as road-blocks and raids. This is up by 9.58%. So, some crime is decreasing, but the percentage of crimes reported is up, albeit slightly. What this means, essentially, is that the South African people are still doing most of the police work, while the SAPS sit around at the local Nando’s. A 9.58% increase in police activity is simply not good enough.
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The Increase and Decrease of Crime

Serious crime, in general, is out of control in this country. Hijackings are up by 14.48%. In another shocking statistic, 13% of the 19 016 murder victims this year were women and children. Of the children, 574 were boys and 265 were girls. Crimes against children, in general, are extremely disconcerting. Earlier this month, a scholar patroller at Soweto’s AB Xuma Primary, was reported to have raped or sexually assaulted up to 87 pupils. Though a 1.8% increase in the murder rate may not sound significant, this still leaves us at 52 murders and 50 attempted murders taking place in South Africa, every single day. Some of the most notable crimes to see a decrease in the last year were driving under the influence and bank robbery. Because, when in the last decade did you hear of a bank being knocked over. Sexual offences also saw a noted decrease, with a reduction of 4.3%.
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Cape Town, one of the most visited, premiere tourist attractions in the world, also finds itself in the top ten most dangerous cities in the world. In the company of Afghanistan, Honduras, Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela, this is certainly cause for alarm. While most of the crime is contained within the poorest areas of the city, townships such as Khayelitsha, Gugulethu and Nyanga, this doesn’t prevent it from spilling over into neighbouring areas. Drug and gang-related violence is ever on the rise. Hijackings are through the roof and murder is wide-spread. The stats delivered by the SAPS paint a distressing, but ultimately unfinished picture. They don’t reflect the reality of where we are, or the level of threat to public safety. Victim surveys, for instance, may reveal a state of affairs which is, in fact, far grimmer than what the stats disclose. Far worse, even, than most of us could even imagine. 2.1 million serious crimes in one year, but this doesn’t include the large proportion of crime not reported to the police, or, in fact, under-reported by the police. Stats SA releases an annual National Victims of Crime Survey, which measures how many victims actually report crimes to the SAPS. According to the survey, for some types of crime, fewer victims are now reporting to the police. For instance, in the latest survey, reports on house robbery dropped from 66% to 57% in the past year. In the case of housebreaking, rates declined from 53% to 51%. This could all be a reliable indication of how much we trust our police and courts. In order to combat crime, together, and turn this situation around – public confidence will have to be restored in the criminal justice system. The onus, then, is on the SAPS.
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