Unit D1, Stand 189, Northlands Business Park, Johannesburg, South Africa​



The South African Police Service published the latest crime stats for Q1, 2021. The immediate question that springs to mind is, “How much under-reporting is really happening?” This is because every conceivable platform used by the ‘common man’ to gauge crime trends, such as security WhatsApp, Signal or Telegram groups established by industry role-players, crime prevention forums, residential areas and their private security vendors; clearly indicate a significant uptick in crime. Both in frequency and brazenness, if that is even a word.

But our Minister of police, Bheki Cele reported an overall decline of 8.5% in contact crimes. Those crimes include assault, sexual offences, common assault and robbery, and only two types of contact crime showing an increase. These were murder and attempted murder (8.4% and 8.7% increases, respectively.)

The recent murder of Richard’s Bay mining boss Nico Swart (his vehicle was hit by 23 bullets) is indicative of a growing concern within both the mining sector as well as the Kwa- Zulu Natal province, which recorded a 17% increase in their murder rate. The Eastern Cape is even higher: murder there is up by 21.5%!

  • “Over two thousand incidents of Assault GBH took place at either a bar, a night club, a tavern or a shebeen. This doesn’t exclude alcohol being present in parks, beaches and other places of entertainment,” said the minister. NGOs are reporting some scary stories of gender-based violence (GBV) and domestic abuse. A sample of 6 893 of the rape incidents revealed that 4130 of them occurred at either the home of the victim or that of the alleged rapist.

SA crime stats: Q3 2020 vs Q4 2020

Q3 vs Q4Oct – Dec 2020Jan – Mar 2021Change
Contact Crimes171 764137 314-20.1%
Contact-related Crimes30 98925 582-17.4%
Property-related Crimes99 03491 223-7.9%
Other Serious Crimes97 93193 801-4.2%
Total public reported399 718347 920-13.0%
Crime detected as a result of police action59 80050 034-16.3%
Total459 518397 954-13.4%

SA crime stats: Q4 2019 vs Q4 2020

2019 vs 2020Jan – Mar 2020Jan – Mar 2021Change
Contact Crimes150 132137 314-8.5%
Contact-related Crimes26 95925 582-5.1%
Property-related Crimes115 21491 223-20.8%
Other Serious Crimes104 16193 801-9.9%
Total public reported396 466347 920-12.2%
Crime detected as a result of police action68 65850 034-27.1%
Total465 124397 954-14.4%
  • Contact crimes include murder, attempted murder and sexual offences, as well as common assault and robbery;
  • Contact-related crimes include arson and malicious damage 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”. Categories covered by this are the illegal possession of firearms, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol; and the use, possession or trade in illegal drugs.
  • Hijacking: Aggravated robberies such as carjacking increased by almost 5%. Carjacking took place mostly in formal and non-formal residence in the country’s townships followed by suburbs in urban areas.

Biggest increase to biggest decrease in crimes Q4 2020/21

CategoryJan – Mar 2020Jan – Mar 2021Change
Truck hijacking284354+24.6%
Commercial crime20 19322 558+11.7%
Attempted murder4 2164 582+8.7%
Murder4 5894 976+8.4%
Robbery at residential premises4 9165 288+7.6%
Carjacking4 3034 513+4.9%
Robbery at non-residential premises4 7414 872+2.8%
Bank robbery01+1 case
Sexual offences discovered as a result of police action2 3772 335-1.8%
Sexual offences12 62712 133-3.9%
Malicious damage to property26 10624 850-4.8%
Robbery with aggravating circumstances33 40430 768-7.9%
Common assault42 86638 889-9.3%
Assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm40 16836 417-9.3%
Robbery of cash in transit4742-10.6%
Stock theft6 8536 089-11.1%
Illegal possession of firearms and ammunition3 6073 184-11.7%
All theft not mentioned elsewhere69 55659 646-14.2%
Drug-related crime43 34435 932-17.1%
Theft of motor vehicle or motorcycle11 1639 240-17.2%
Burglary at non-residential premises18 38415 215-17.2%
Shoplifting14 41211 597-19.5%
Burglary at residential premises51 00440 568-20.5%
Common robbery12 2629 549-22.1%
Theft out of or from motor vehicle27 81020 111-27.7%
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs19 3308 583-55.6%

What we are seeing in the private security industry is not a decrease but a disturbing increase in the crimes that scare us all.

We question the training received by our hardworking men and women in blue that truly stand in the gap for all of us.  And by that we mean real, intelligence-driven tactical training provided, along with the necessary equipment such as body armour, body cameras and modern policing tools, on a regular basis to those at the sharp-end of the fight against the rising tide of desperation-driven and brazen crime committed even in the bright light of day among our people. “Regular basis” means studying criminal tactics and ‘innovation’ and providing field-proven tactics to our police to defeat those. By the way: 29 police officers were murdered in South Africa in the six months ending in October 2020. Much of that period was during our various levels of lockdown. That is 29 widows or widowers and who knows how many orphans left heartbroken and without their family’s breadwinner.

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