These crimes are worse than ever in South Africa

 ·19 Aug 2022

The South African Police Service (SAPS) has presented the country’s latest crime statistics, covering the first quarter of the 2022/23 financial year, April to June 2022.

Presenting the stats on Friday (19 August) police minister Bheki Cele noted that the crime stats for April to June 2022 are being compared to the same period in 2021 when the country was still in lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The minister highlighted successes by the SAPS in reducing crimes in key categories, including sexual offences, common assault and assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm.

“The first quarter of 2022/2023 financial year shows decreases in total sexual offences such as rape, sexual assault, attempted sexual offences and contact sexual offences. It is on this that score the SAPS will continue to prioritize gender-based violence-related crimes,” he said.

Between April and June this year, 286 rapists were convicted through investigative work done by the SAPS, the minister said, and out of the 286 rape convictions, 46 of the rapists were sentenced to life behind bars.

“While the majority of rapes do take place behind closed doors and are hard to police, we are confident that it is through the FCS detective work that is preventing more rapes, hence the decrease in rape cases during the reporting period.”

However, despite these successes, the number of murders in the country remains worrisome, he said.

As many as 6,424 people were murdered in South Africa in the first quarter of the 2022/2023 financial year – an increase of 664 (+12%) from the same period last year, when the country was placed under Covid-19 Lockdown level one and two.

Other notable increases include carjacking – up 14% year on year – and a significant jump in cash-in-transit heists – up over 30%.

Overall, 13 crime categories are worse year on year, the stats show, while 10 others improved. The data also shows increased police activity, which has resulted in more crimes being detected as a result of police action.

Of the 13 crimes that are worse than last year, five are at their worst levels seen in this quarter over the last five years. These are:

  • Murder
  • Attempted murder
  • Carjacking
  • Robbery at residential premises
  • Commercial crime

The tables below outline the key statistics.


SA crime stats: Q1 2021/22 vs Q1 2022/23

2021/22 vs 2022/23 Apr-Jun 2021 Apr-Jun 2022 Change
Contact Crimes 145 120 142 915 -1.5%
Contact-related Crimes 27 304 27 261 -0.2%
Property-related Crimes 91 604 91 319 -0.3%
Other Serious Crimes 95 367 102 078 +7.0%
Total public reported 359 395 363 513 +1.1%
Crime detected as a result of police action 47 187 54 222 +14.9%
Total 406 582 417 735 +2.7%
  • 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 1Q22/23

Category Apr-Jun 2021 Apr-Jun 2022 Change
Robbery of cash in transit 46 60 +30.4%
Truck hijacking 411 508 +23.6%
Carjacking 5 146 5 866 +14.0%
Murder 5 760 6 424 +11.5%
All theft not mentioned elsewhere 60 056 65 636 +9.3%
Attempted murder 5 145 5 576 +8.4%
Commercial crime 24 030 25 250 +5.1%
Robbery with aggravating circumstances 33 876 35 233 +4.0%
Robbery at non-residential premises 5 255 5 281 +0.5%
Burglary at residential premises 39 477 39 638 +0.4%
Robbery at residential premises 5 346 5 370 +0.4%
Burglary at non-residential premises 14 627 14 677 +0.3%
Malicious damage to property 26 326 26 375 +0.2%
Shoplifting 11 281 11 132 -0.3%
Theft out of or from motor vehicle 21 310 21 213 -0.5%
Theft of motor vehicle and motorcycle 9 433 9 335 -1.0%
Common robbery 10 701 10 565 -1.3%
Common assault 39 406 38 627 -2.0%
Stock-theft 6 757 6 456 -4.5%
Sexual Offences 12 702 11 855 -6.7%
Assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm 37 530 34 635 -7.7%
Arson 978 886 -9.4%
Bank robbery 1 0 – 1 case

Crime detected as a result of police action

Category Jan-Mar 2021 Jan-Mar 2022 Change
Sexual offences discovered as a result of police action 1 428 1 897 +32.8%
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs 10 964 12 942 +18.0%
Illegal possession of firearms and ammunition 3 147 3 597 +14.3%
Drug-related crime 31 648 35 786 +13.1%

Read: South Africa getting thousands of new police officers this year: Ramaphosa

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