Under-reporting of crime a problem - Mthethwa

2012-09-20 12:30

Cape Town - Under-reporting of crimes remains a challenge for police, Minister Nathi Mthethwa said at the announcement of the latest crime statistics on Thursday in Parliament.

Mthethwa said the number of reported rapes had decreased by a slight 1.9% during 2011/12, but the figure was still unacceptably high. More resources and better police training mechanisms were now being put in place.

"To a large extent, we do admit that this is one challenging category for police to police. It is also influenced by reporting behaviour. If victims trust the police, then you will get more reporting.

"So the issue of under-reporting remains a challenge, and not just in South Africa, but internationally," Mthethwa said.

"We need to emphasise that as government we are however, still concerned about the scourge of rape in our country."

Children targeted

The sexual offences ratio decreased by 3.7% in the year under review.

The minister also said there was also a growing trend of young children being targeted.

"One of the shifts that we have witnessed is that although crimes against women and children are decreasing, we are now seeing a trend where young children are now being targeted and abused.

"We shall be intensifying the war [on crimes committed] against young children to ensure that this trend is reversed.

"A greater and growing awareness among parents/guardians that children should be looked after and protected, must be considered," he said.

Fewer contact crimes

Most crime categories decreased during the period, Mthethwa said.

Mthethwa told journalists a decline was shown in all seven categories of contact crime - murder, attempted murder, sexual offences, assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm (GBH), common assault, aggravated robbery, and common robbery.

These crimes accounted for 29.9% of South Africa’s recorded serious crimes; such crimes involved physical contact, usually of a violent and coercive nature, between the perpetrators and their victims.

"We are encouraged that all provinces with the exception of Free State, Limpopo and Western Cape, experienced a decline in this form of crime."

All percentage increases and decreases were calculated on the basis of ratios per 100 000 of the population (per capita figures) in line with international practice.

Murders down 3.1%

In 2010/11, contact crime decreased by 6.9% and for the financial year under review, a decrease of 3.5% was recorded.

Contact crime had significantly reduced by 35.5% from 2004/05 to 2011/12.

Murder, one of the most reliable trends of crime statistics, decreased by 3.1% in 2011/12.

Research indicated that about 65% of murders started off as assaults resulting from interpersonal arguments, which were often further stimulated by alcohol and drug abuse.

Attempted murder decreased by 5.2%, assault GBH by 4.2%, and common assault by 3.4%.

  • rbphiri - 2012-09-20 12:37

    50 Shades of brain decay...Perhaps Minister?

      Zoolie - 2012-09-20 12:45

      i phoned the other day for a suspected car break-in, the police officer on the line refused to give me his name, then to my surprise he didnt know where the plase was, 2 blocks away from the station, i hate to find the day i really need them !!!!

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-09-20 12:48

      The minister forgot to tell us the shocking inability of police stations to correctly categorize and then report on crimes to head office. There is no way these figures are accurate.

      thandiwe.ngema.71 - 2012-09-20 13:02

      Our crime stats will have to be verified by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Last year the audit was fine - let's hope this year's is too. What happens is the UN Office check mortuary records, to verify the murders. Read for analysis of crime. Lizette Lancaster will write a report following confirmation from the UN that the stats are accurate. There is probably under-reporting of rape stats from rural areas and cases where car-jackings have been listed as normal robberies. Crime is still unacceptably high. It makes sense that it has fallen a bit as the percentage of people out of work or without welfare has fallen (mainly the latter category as unemployment is static). The ANC need to do a lot more to improve crime. There are areas where it is safe to walk around at night but that is still the EXCEPTION to the rule. Most places are no-go areas at night!

      vaughan.lund - 2012-09-20 13:14

      Get with the program, crime is down. It could never be the fact that most crimes now go unreported.

      thandiwe.ngema.71 - 2012-09-20 13:31

      I very much doubt the ANC can DELIVER stats that pull the wool in front of the eyes of the United Nations Office on Drugs on Crime.. ie I don't think they are capable enough to hide stats from them..

      mphogift.mukwevho - 2012-09-20 13:37

      nh - 2012-09-20 14:59

      What the Minister must ask himself is WHY is there such a high incidence of under-reporting on crime?

  • TheyTookMyNickLaZynEko - 2012-09-20 12:37

    Geez this news is all so contradictory. People think they can rely on stats, lol.

      Raymond Huxley - 2012-09-20 13:26

      Stats don't lie, as they say. You guys have one of the highest crime rates in the world. I don't even feel safe walking around at night here. We don't have this type of rot back home.

  • Spiral - 2012-09-20 12:37

    "Under-reporting of crime a problem - Mthethwa"..... But not 20min ago, there was the headline: "Fewer serious crimes - Mthethwa" A little confused maybe? ??

      kala.bafazi - 2012-09-20 12:53

      Contradiction - anc style

      Erna - 2012-09-20 13:06

      Spinning - anc style.

  • kala.bafazi - 2012-09-20 12:39

    I have a suspicion that less and less crimes are being reported, either because the perputrator has threatend the victim (in the case of children) or people have lost so much faith in the police that they no longer bother reporting the crimes. I don't believe for a minute that major crimes have dropped. The viciousness of these crimes has definitely increased.

  • henk.vanrensburg.31 - 2012-09-20 12:40

    So your stats is then uhm....Under reported? Do you know what you are telling us?

  • Zoolie - 2012-09-20 12:40

    wonder why crimes dont get reported anymore, cause nothing gets done with it besides getting a head ache to explain it from frustration.

  • susan.pretorius.31 - 2012-09-20 12:42

    Crime is under reported because people are more afraid of the police than they are of other criminals...

  • sean.odonnell.1466126 - 2012-09-20 12:53

    Perhaps Joe Public has lost faith in; the Police?, The Justice System?, The ANC Government?. All of the above? If the Gov is serious about reducing violent crime in SA.... bring back the death penalty for Rape, Murder and Armed Robbery. You, Minister, would be amazed at the results.

  • jonathancfarrell - 2012-09-20 12:57

    One is sick of reporting as nothing is done about it. The papers get lost, the evidence gets lost...

      steve.barrow.104 - 2012-09-20 13:11

      You forgot the bit about the suspects getting tipped off.

  • taki.rasi - 2012-09-20 13:02


  • eugene.muller.7 - 2012-09-20 13:04

    Trust the police? No comment further.

  • reveng21 - 2012-09-20 13:05

    Just hearing what's happening in and around the townships especially with the mindset of the younger generations I believe %rapes are off the charts. Victims are either afraid of reporting or don't see the point thanks to a useless system...

  • ndou.miranda - 2012-09-20 13:06

    Minister the reason why crime is still a challenge to the Police is they do not Omit, they themselves committee crime.

  • andiswa.tyali - 2012-09-20 13:12

    This is a white lie "Crime has not dropped at all" Mthethwa must go back and to his work!!!

  • ken.koen - 2012-09-20 13:16

    I just dont believe the government really cares much about crime. The courts hand down very lenient sentences for extemely serious crimes. Eight years imprisonment for murder. We regularly read of horific crimes being committed by savage criminals out on bail for murder rape and robbery. The same for murderers and robbers on parole. How on earth can you grant bail and parole to murderers, rapists and armed robbers? A few years ago jmpd "officers" committed very serious crimes en masse, and in uniform. They held members of the public hostage at Loveday street, then took to the streets in official cars, blocked public highways, pointed firearms, at the national police, and even fired at them. Nothing was done about it. There is absolutely no discipline in the police force or the judiciary, while this situation in the metro police departments is so bad they are pretty much rouge police depts. Nothing is done about it, and there is clearly no intention of anything improving in the future. No the government is definitely not bothered about crime at all.

  • samoras - 2012-09-20 13:16

    It's not crime reduction! People just gave\r\nup on reporting crimes to the police!

  • amelda.davies - 2012-09-20 13:29

    Where do I report a crime? At those places called \police stations'? Where they sleep, hang like wet rags over the counters, chew gum like a bunch of cows, etc - that place? Or do I phone 10111? Where you get put 'on hold' so long, the idiots don't understand you and when they do, you to literally spel eeverything to them? That's now, IF your call gets answered.

  • sean.murphy.165 - 2012-09-20 13:35

    I only report crime if I have to claim from insurance. Otherwise it is a complete waste of time. It's not like the police are actually going to go out and try catch the criminals.

  • mlungisi.kunene - 2012-09-20 13:41

    My only regret is that the minister has not mentioned how his colleagues sit on these reported cases and nothing is done...its a waste of time reporting i have had first hand account...

  • paul.hemming.39 - 2012-09-20 13:42

    That's good to see that violent crime is decreasing. As Mthethwa acknowledges there is the problem of under reporting crimes, but you can't really under report murders. Also interesting to see that most murders (65%) are the results of interpersonal arguments and not part of theft or genocide. However crime in SA is still unacceptably high! We need to pray for peace and be the solution.

  • braamc - 2012-09-20 13:43

    Absolute rubbish, can't believe a word of this

  • tony.kirby1 - 2012-09-20 13:45

    Remember these are reported crimes. What about those crimes not reported or figures that have been manipulated. At least a lot of good cops are doing the utmost best to help bring down crime. Thanks to them they are not higher those figures

  • ft.burhaak - 2012-09-20 14:02

    If most of the crime had to be reported,it would be against the police,thats why...

  • collins.ntelele - 2012-09-20 14:08

    Theres no under-reporting.Crimes are reported every second in SA but thrown out of courts due to various pathetic reasons including questionable verdict by magistrates,who pass judgement immensely based on prima facie evidence,eg two people in possession of housebreaking implements were arrested in cosmo city at 01:00am.Magistrate set them free because, he says,theres no evidence to suggest that they were going to break into a house or commit crime,at 01:00am nogal.Both the justice and police system needs a complete overhauling,period.

  • Jealine Willein Pretorius - 2012-09-20 14:18

    Sorry guys, I do understand what you all are saying. but what about the police that are actually trying. the police station in my community are wonderful and they there to help you in need always. 10111 might not work most of the time but try to phone 082 124 or your police station land line in your area.

  • konanani.rachicoper - 2012-09-20 14:36

    We are living in a country where pizza service is faster than police service.

  • dccouper - 2012-09-20 17:24

    This is called "juking the stats" and it happens all over the world -- the manipulation of crime statistics. For insight and direction on this and other important police issues, take a look at “Arrested Development: A Veteran Police Chief Sounds Off About Protest, Racism, Corruption and the Seven Steps Necessary to Improve Our Nation’s Police” ( in US and EU). And the blog at where other current police improvement issues are discussed. Good luck and may we all experience not just good but great policing! Great policing is accomplished by police who are well-trained and led, restrained in their use of force, honest, and courteous to every person.

  • NotBlackEnough - 2012-09-20 22:26

    Not 1 Not 16 Not 160 Not 1600 But 16000 Murders!!!! And this "PRIMATE" Minister of Safety & Security still holds his Job?

  • nicolaas.swanepoel.3 - 2012-09-23 20:39

    I have a dare for all people. Report any and ALL crimes and let them see what the stats actually is.

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