The South African Police Service (SAPS) and Stats South Africa have published the latest crime statistics covering the first quarter of the 2021/22 financial year (April to June 2021).
The data shows red across the board, with crime increasing in all but two categories during the period. Crimes that saw a drop were stock theft (-8.0%) and burglary at non-residential premises (-22.4%).
The vast majority of crime categories saw increases in the double-digits.
Police minister Bheki Cele said that the crime figures for the quarter appear greatly inflated because of the state of lockdown in the country at the time of the last comparable quarter.
The first quarter of the 2020/21 financial year coincided with level 5 lockdown, which kept almost everyone indoors and most businesses closed – including taverns, liquor outlets, night clubs, sporting activities and places of entertainment, he said.
These venues are largely regarded as causative factors of crime. The Q1 2020 figures, which were very low because of the lockdown period, were compared to a ‘normal’ Q1 2019, presenting a distorted and skewed view.
“Today, we are in the same space of comparing the incomparable. The very same shock of last year is repeating itself with an exaggerated extreme opposite,” Cele said. “The double-figure eye-popping increase in most crime categories is informed by the same adjusted lockdown levels and distorted crime trends.”
The police minister said he didn’t want to ‘sweep away’ the large increases in crime but wanted to rather contextualise the current stats by comparing it to a more ‘normal’ period in 2019. However, even in doing so, crime trends are pointing upwards.
For example, in the three months of reporting for Q1 2021, a 66.2% increase in murder was recorded compared to Q1 2020. Compared to the Q1 2019 period, the murder rate would have increased by 6.7%.
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 2019/2020.
SA crime stats: Q1 2020 vs Q1 2021
|2020 vs 2021||Apr-Jun 2020||Apr-Jun 2021||Change|
|Contact Crimes||90 376||145 120||+60.6%|
|Contact-related Crimes||19 191||27 304||+42.3%|
|Property-related Crimes||86 410||91 604||+6.0%|
|Other Serious Crimes||70 518||95 367||+35.2%|
|Total public reported||266 495||359 395||+34.9%|
|Crime detected as a result of police action||25 093||47 187||+88.0%|
|Total||291 588||406 582||+39.4%|
- Contact crimes include murder, attempted murder and sexual offences, as well as common assault and robbery.
- Contact-related crimes include arson and malicious injury to property.
- Other serious crimes include commercial crime, shop-lifting, and other types of theft – while aggravated robbery includes hijackings, robbery at residences, and cash-in-transit heists and bank robberies.
- Crimes detected as a result of police action cover crimes discovered by active policing, such as roadblocks and raids. This category covers the illegal possession of firearms, DUI or driving under the influence (of drugs or alcohol), and the use, possession or trade of illegal drugs.
Biggest increases in crime categories for 1Q21
|Category||Apr-Jun 2020||Apr-Jun 2021||Change|
|Sexual offences discovered as result of police action||411||1 428||+247.4%|
|Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs||3 168||10 964||+246.1%|
|Robbery of cash in transit||19||46||+142.1%|
|Carjacking||2 677||5 146||+92.2%|
|Sexual Offences||7 296||12 702||+74.1%|
|Assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm||22 064||37 530||+70.1%|
|Theft of motor vehicle and motorcycle||5 564||9 433||+69.5%|
|Drug-related crime||18 767||31 648||+68.6%|
|Murder||3 466||5 760||+66.2%|
|Common robbery||6 469||10 701||+65.4%|
|Robbery at non-residential premises||3 341||5 255||+57.3%|
|Robbery with aggravating circumstances||21 599||33 876||+56.8%|
|Commercial crime||15 431||24 030||+55.7%|
|Common assault||25 995||39 406||+51.6%|
|Attempted murder||3 487||5 145||+47.5%|
|Malicious injury to property||18 558||26 326||+41.9%|
|Robbery at residential premises||4 006||5 346||+33.4%|
|All theft not mentioned elsewhere||45 455||60 056||+32.1%|
|Theft out of or from motor vehicle||17 533||21 310||+21.5%|
|Shoplifting||9 632||11 281||+17.1%|
|Illegal possession of firearms and ammunition||2 747||3 147||+14.6%|
|Burglary at residential premises||37 128||39 477||+6.3%|
|Bank robbery||0||1||+1 case|
|Stock-theft||7 345||6 757||-8.0%|
|Burglary at non-residential premises||18 840||14 627||-22.4%|
The table below outlines the crime category comparison between Q1 2021 and the same period in 2020 and the ‘normal’ period in 2019.