Crime stats: SA's murder and rape situation unpacked

Cape Town – While there was a marginal decrease of murders in the country, some provinces still experienced an increase, according to crime statistics.

Police on Friday presented official crime statistics spanning from April 1 to December 2016 to the police committee in Parliament, where they painted a picture of a country winning the fight against crime.

According to the statistics, 14 333 cases of murder were reported in the time period, a decrease of 10 in comparison to the previous trimester.

In the first quarter, there was a 0.6% increase in murder compared to the previous year, and a 1.9% increase in the second quarter. 

It went down by 2.3% in the third quarter, resulting in a 0.1% overall decrease for the nine months.

While murder had decreased in the Northern Cape, Limpopo, the Free State, Eastern Cape And North West, it remained a problem in the Western Cape where there was a 0.7% increase.

KwaZulu Natal also had a 1.7% increase, while murders went up by 3.7% in Gauteng and 6.8% in Mpumalanga. 

Presenting the statistics, Norman Sekhukhune, SA Police Service Head of Crime Research and Statistics, said 447 murders committed in quarter one, were committed with firearms.

“The reason why we have observed [an increase], some of the them were related to local government elections, where some candidates were assassinated.”

The other contributing factor in the first six months of the financial year, was that 109 murders recorded were taxi-violence related murders.

Out of these, he said, 47 incidents were committed in Gauteng. 

The motive was mostly around road disputes with taxi associations and revenge attacks in that hitmen were hired to eliminate rivals, Sekhukhune said.

“In Gauteng, in Midrand especially the Mall of Africa in the first quarter, was among the highest contributors regarding road disputes leading to murder,” he said.

Domestic violence also played a role in increasing violence reported in the first semester of the financial year, he said, with 344 murders reported in the period found to be related to such incidents.

This contributed to 3.8% of the murders.

Gang violence was also found to be prominent, especially in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape in the first six months of the financial year.

“Thirty-one people killed in 31 days [were] associated with gang violence,” Sekhukhune said, referring to the death count in the Delft area in the Western Cape in August 2016. 

Sexual offences

Sexual offences decreased by more than 2 500 cases in the period under review. 

Between April 2016 and the end of December, 30 069 cases of rape were reported, down from 32 161 in the previous year. This amounted to just under 110 rape cases a day.

There were 4 815 cases of sexual assault in the year under the spotlight, a decrease of only two cases from the previous year.

Rape decreased in all the provinces in the time under review, with the Northern Cape reporting the highest decrease of more than 14%. 

While rape decreased by 0.7% in Gauteng, the province remained the highest contributor to this contact crime with more than 5 900 rapes reported in the nine months. 

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