Shock crime statistics for South Africa – including big increase in murder and hijacking

 ·20 Aug 2021
Bheki Cele South African Minister of Police

Police minister Bheki Cele has published the crime statistics for Q1 2021/2022, with a significant increase in cases reported across several crime categories.

“The double-digit increase in most crime categories is attributed to the impact of the adjusted lockdown levels and distorted crime trends,” said Cele.

The police minister said that while the country had seen a ‘holiday from crime’ during the higher level 5, 4 and 3 lockdowns, the move to lighter restrictions has led to ‘exaggeratedly high’ crime levels.

“While we will not sweep the high and unnatural figures under the carpet, we will instead bring to the fore a holistic picture of comparing the 2021/2022 Q1 crime figures to a ‘normal period’ two years ago where there was no lockdown.”

The increases, therefore, reflect the difference between Q1 2018/19 and Q1 2021/22, he said.

Big increase in murder and other crimes 

Contact crimes such as murder, attempted murder, sexual offences and all categories of assault registered a 60.6% increase, compared to the corresponding period of the previous financial year.

Murder alone registered a 66.2% increase – which translates to 5,760 people killed between 1 April and 30 June 2021.

Cele said that the most common areas that murders are committed in South Africa are on the street, in open fields, parking areas and abandoned buildings (2,531 murders).

A total of 1,385 murders were committed at a person’s home, while 206 murders were committed at liquor outlets.

The most common reasons for murder include:

  • Arguments;
  • Robberies;
  • Mob-justice killings;
  • Gang-related killings.

Cele said that the South African Police Service also reported an increase of 72.4% in incidents of rape – translating to 10,006 victims of rape during the period between 1 April and 30 June.

Similarly, both common assault and assault with grievous bodily harm registered double-digit increases, translating to a combined 76,936 cases. Over 15,000 cases of domestic violence were reported over the period alone.

Carjacking increased by 92.2%, revised to 13.1% compared to the same period in 2019/2020.

Property-related crime and burglary at non-residential premises increased by 6%. By comparison, burglaries at non-residential addresses decreased by 22.4%.

A total of 46 cash-in-transit heists were reported over the period – 27 more incidents compared to the same period in 2019/2020.

Read: South Africa loses R180 million every week it’s on the UK ‘red list’ for travel: study

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