Murder up, bank robberies down – what you need to know about the crime stats

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko. Picture: Tammy Petersen
Police Minister Nathi Nhleko. Picture: Tammy Petersen

The crime statistics have been released for the period 2015-2016, and were a mixed bag.

Various heads of the police outlined the situation to Parliament’s police portfolio committee today. Here’s what you need to know.


» The murder rate in South Africa increased by 4.9% Murders happened mostly indoors, among people known to each other. Alcohol abuse was prominent in such crimes.

» Robbery with aggravating circumstances increased by 2.7%, and common assault went up by 2.2%.

» Carjacking has increased by 14.3%. While this crime had increased in all provinces, theft out of motor vehicles had decreased. Carjacking was highest in heavily populated Gauteng.

» Residential robbery increased by 2.7% in the same period. Gauteng had the highest number of reported residential robberies, but saw a decrease.

The Western Cape, meanwhile, had a worrying 19.3% increase in robberies at home. Eastern Cape was not far behind with a 13.4% increase.

Robberies at non-residential premises increased by 2.8%, as did cash-in-transit robberies (up 15.1%).

» There has been a sharp increase in the number of violent protests across the country. Reported cases of violent unrest increased to 3542 between April 2015 and March this year, compared with 2289 in the previous financial year. A map of the country showed that unrest hotspots included KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Limpopo.

» The torching of schools in Vuwani contributed to a 9.4% spike in the statistics on malicious damage to property in Limpopo. 


» There has been a small decrease in the number of crimes detected as a result of police action.

These crimes were categorised as drug-related, driving under the influence of intoxicating substances, illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, and sexual offences.

» Sexual offences decreased by 3.2%. Sexual offences increased by 8.9% in the Northern Cape.

However, for seven of the nine provinces, the statistics showed a decrease in this crime.

They were Eastern Cape (down 4.6%), Free State (4.1%), Gauteng (4%), KwaZulu-Natal (1.5%), Mpumalanga (4.1%), North West (9.2%) and Western Cape (3.2%).

However, Limpopo was also up 1.3%.

» Stock theft was down by 1% for 2015-2016.

» The overall decrease in malicious damage to property across all provinces was 2.9 percentage points.

» There was also an overall decrease of 4.4% in arson.

» Truck hijacking decreased by 7.4%. Decreases were noted in Gauteng, Western Cape and Limpopo, whereas increases were seen in Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape.

» Bank robberies decreased by 64.7%, from 17 cases to 6 cases, in the last year.

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