South Africa crime stats 2017: everything you need to know

The South African Police Service has released the crime statistics for 2017, showing which crimes have increased – and decreased – in the past year.

The crime stats cover 21 crime categories: 17 crime categories are reported by the public, while four others are as a result of police activity – in effect, the 17 categories should decrease, and four categories should increase to show effective policing, police minister Fikile Mbalula said.

As many as 2,129,001 serious crimes were recorded in 2017, a slight increase (0.12%) from the 2015/16 number of 2,126,552.

Contact crimes decreased by 2.4%, and contact-related crimes dropped by 3.3%, Mbalula said. Property related crimes declined by 0.5%, while other serious crimes decreased by just over 2%.

According to Mbalula, while the number of crimes detected as a result of police action reversed from a decline of 0.3% in 2015/16 to an increase of 9.6% in 2016/17, this was still not good enough, adding that the South African police are letting the people of South Africa down.

The statistics below cover the period between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017, reflecting the most recent financial year. The statistics were compiled with co-operation with Stats SA, to ensure that the process was subject to the tightest quality control.

SA crime stats for 2017 (1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017)

Category 2016 2017 Change
Property-related Crimes 543 524 540 653 -0.53%
Other Serious Crimes 479 075 469 276 -2.05%
Contact Crimes 623 233 608 321 -2.93%
Contact-related Crimes 124 804 120 730 -3.26%
Crime detected as result of police action 355 926 390 021 +9.58%
Total   2 126 552 2 129 001 +0.12%

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 all 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 road-blocks and raids.

Crimes are counted per charge, not per docket, as one docket may contain many charges.

All crime stats include attempts, with the exception of murder and rape, as attempted murder and attempted rape are recorded separately.

These are the crimes which have increased and decreased in the last year:

Biggest increase to biggest decrease in crimes 2017

Category 2016 2017 Change
Carjacking 14 602 16 717 +14.48%
Drug-related crime 259 165 292 689 +12.94%
Robbery of cash in transit 137 152 +10.95%
Illegal possession of firearms and ammunition 14 772 16 134 +9.22%
Stock-theft 24 715 26 902 +8.85%
Robbery at residential premises 20 820  22 343 +7.32%
Robbery with aggravating circumstances 132 527 140 956 +6.36%
Sexual offences discovered as result of police action 5 830 6 164 +5.63%
Commercial crime 69 917  73 550 +5.20%
Robbery at non-residential premises 19 698 20 680 +4.99%
Murder 18 673 19 016 +1.84%
Burglary at non-residential premises 75 008 75 618 +0.81%
Attempted murder 18 127 18 205 +0.43%
Truck hijacking 1 184 1 183 -0.08%
Theft out of or from motor vehicle 139 386  138 172 -0.87%
Theft of motor vehicle and motorcycle 53 809 53 307 -0.93%
Common robbery 54 110 53 418 -1.28%
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs 76 159  75 034 -1.48%
Burglary at residential premises 250 606 246 654 -1.58%
Shoplifting 68 786  67 454 -1.94%
Malicious injury to property 119 901 116 409 -2.91%
All theft not mentioned elsewhere 340 372  328 272 -3.55%
Common assault 164 958 156 450 -5.16%
Sexual Offences 51 895 49 660 -4.31%
Assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm 182 933  170 616 -6.73%
Arson 4 903 4 321 -11.87%
Bank robbery 6  3 -50.00%

Read: How to tell if your neighbourhood is at risk of becoming a crime hotspot

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South Africa crime stats 2017: everything you need to know