Is SA safer since 1994?

Johannesburg - While the levels of certain crimes have dropped since 1994, increases in armed robbery, hijackings, sexual assault and drug related crimes have made it hard to determine if South Africa is a safer country, the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) said on Wednesday.

"That is difficult to answer, because different trends run in different directions," SAIRR CEO Frans Cronje told reporters in Johannesburg.

An SAIRR report on crime trends between 1994/95 and 2013/14 found while the rate of crimes like murder, attempted murder and assault had decreased, drug related crime rose from 118 per 100 000 to 492, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol increased from 66 to 132.

Sexual offences rose from 115 to 118 per 100 000.

However, the figures for the daily incidence of some crimes showed a stark picture.

There were 172 daily incidents of sexual assault - up from 123 - while the incidents of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs increased from 70 to 191.

Drug related crimes increased from 126 to 714 incidents a day.

Effective policing

Cronje said the increase could be due to effective policing.

"[With the drugs figures] this also might be because of changes in drug use and behaviour... changes in living standards might also be a contributing factor."

A decline in stock theft figures could conversely be related to collapsed farmer confidence in the police.

Cronje said while the murder rate had decreased, a slight recent increase, coupled with a possible increase in the new statistics the police would release on Tuesday, could break the trend.

The murder rate per 100 000 across the provinces found the Eastern Cape had the highest level at 52. Gauteng had 26 and the Western Cape 48.

"Gauteng has a reputation for being the most dangerous place in the country, but we are on the other end of the scale. The Western Cape is becoming one of the most dangerous provinces in the country," Cronje said.

He credited this to the "migration" of criminals to the province.

"Are we pushing criminals into the Western Cape?" Cronje asked.

Internationally, South Africa's murder rate per 100 000 people was at 31, while a country with gun problems and mass shootings like the US only had a murder rate of 4.7 per 100 000.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Children between 12 and 17 can now be vaccinated against Covid-19. As a parent I am:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Relieved, it's been a long wait to this point
51% - 3033 votes
A bit hesitant, and will wait to see how it goes
21% - 1235 votes
Completely against my child getting the shot
29% - 1723 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
14.85
-1.2%
Rand - Pound
20.48
+0.1%
Rand - Euro
17.30
+0.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.09
+0.0%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.0%
Gold
1,793.05
0.0%
Silver
24.33
0.0%
Palladium
2,023.00
0.0%
Platinum
1,043.50
0.0%
Brent Crude
85.53
+1.1%
Top 40
60,525
+1.7%
All Share
67,051
+1.5%
Resource 10
62,969
+2.5%
Industrial 25
86,659
+1.4%
Financial 15
13,849
+0.2%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE