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
Truck hijacking 284 354 +24.6%
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%
Arson 853 732 -14.2%
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.

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