Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko says the national crime statistics released on Tuesday are an indication that there is a need to deal with social circumstances at a multi-disciplinary level across society.
Releasing the national crime statistics to the Members of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee responsible for providing oversight on Police on Tuesday, the Minister said while contact crimes have decreased by 17.6 % over the last ten years, there has been an increase of 0.9 % in the 2014/15 financial year.
“The trends for the past 10 and five years have shown a decrease whilst in the year under review there has been an increase in certain categories of crime… in essence, the issue of contact crimes is a social phenomenon and is a matter that needs to be dealt with at a multi-disciplinary level across society.”
He added that there were still high levels of violence and aggression in society and this was a serious concern.
The Minister said 83.4% the serious crimes that were reported by members of the community led to the arrests and charging of 1 795 947 persons, of which 4,808 were arrested by elite crime fighting unit the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (Hawks).
He said 1,043 life sentences were imposed on 739 suspects, while 686 police were arrested for various types of crimes in 2014/15.
Police recovered 36,186 vehicles that were reported lost or stolen.
“Police detected crime has increased by 16.6% in the reporting period which resulted in 350,579 arrests,” the Minister said.
Giving an analysis of the crime figures, the Minister said over the past year, contact crimes – crimes against the person – which were reported by members of the community walking into the police station, accounted for 34.4% of all reported crimes and went up by 0.9%.
These included murder, attempted murder, sexual offences, assault with intention to do grievous bodily harm and common robbery.
He said contact related crime – which includes arson and malicious damage to property – accounted for 7% of all reported crimes and increased by 1.9%.
Property related crimes – which included residential housebreaking, housebreaking at other premises, theft of motor vehicles, theft out of and from motor vehicles and stock theft – constituted 27.8% of all reported crimes and went down by 0.8%.
The Minister said other serious crime – including theft, commercial crime like fraud and shop lifting, went down by 2.2% and accounted for 27.8% of all reported crimes.
Over the past ten years, police have successfully decreased contact crimes by 17.8%, contact-related crimes by 15.6%, other serious crimes by 7.6% and property-related crimes by 2.3%.
While crimes against women and children remained a thorn in the side of society, statistics showed that there has been a decrease in crimes under this category.
Statistics also showed that there was an influx of undocumented immigrants, while there was a resurgence in taxi violence.
“The National Development Plan places emphasis on the creation of partnerships in creating conditions of safety and security.
“In this regard, we will continue to work and harness efforts and remain committed to building partnerships with business and communities in fighting crime and the eradication of criminality from our society,” he said.