ANALYSIS OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE CRIME STATS FOR Q1 2021
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 Q4||Oct – Dec 2020||Jan – Mar 2021||Change|
|Contact Crimes||171 764||137 314||-20.1%|
|Contact-related Crimes||30 989||25 582||-17.4%|
|Property-related Crimes||99 034||91 223||-7.9%|
|Other Serious Crimes||97 931||93 801||-4.2%|
|Total public reported||399 718||347 920||-13.0%|
|Crime detected as a result of police action||59 800||50 034||-16.3%|
|Total||459 518||397 954||-13.4%|
SA crime stats: Q4 2019 vs Q4 2020
|2019 vs 2020||Jan – Mar 2020||Jan – Mar 2021||Change|
|Contact Crimes||150 132||137 314||-8.5%|
|Contact-related Crimes||26 959||25 582||-5.1%|
|Property-related Crimes||115 214||91 223||-20.8%|
|Other Serious Crimes||104 161||93 801||-9.9%|
|Total public reported||396 466||347 920||-12.2%|
|Crime detected as a result of police action||68 658||50 034||-27.1%|
|Total||465 124||397 954||-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
|Category||Jan – Mar 2020||Jan – Mar 2021||Change|
|Commercial crime||20 193||22 558||+11.7%|
|Attempted murder||4 216||4 582||+8.7%|
|Murder||4 589||4 976||+8.4%|
|Robbery at residential premises||4 916||5 288||+7.6%|
|Carjacking||4 303||4 513||+4.9%|
|Robbery at non-residential premises||4 741||4 872||+2.8%|
|Bank robbery||0||1||+1 case|
|Sexual offences discovered as a result of police action||2 377||2 335||-1.8%|
|Sexual offences||12 627||12 133||-3.9%|
|Malicious damage to property||26 106||24 850||-4.8%|
|Robbery with aggravating circumstances||33 404||30 768||-7.9%|
|Common assault||42 866||38 889||-9.3%|
|Assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm||40 168||36 417||-9.3%|
|Robbery of cash in transit||47||42||-10.6%|
|Stock theft||6 853||6 089||-11.1%|
|Illegal possession of firearms and ammunition||3 607||3 184||-11.7%|
|All theft not mentioned elsewhere||69 556||59 646||-14.2%|
|Drug-related crime||43 344||35 932||-17.1%|
|Theft of motor vehicle or motorcycle||11 163||9 240||-17.2%|
|Burglary at non-residential premises||18 384||15 215||-17.2%|
|Shoplifting||14 412||11 597||-19.5%|
|Burglary at residential premises||51 004||40 568||-20.5%|
|Common robbery||12 262||9 549||-22.1%|
|Theft out of or from motor vehicle||27 810||20 111||-27.7%|
|Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs||19 330||8 583||-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.