IN NUMBERS | Murder and rape on the rise: SA's quarterly crime statistics

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  • 5 760 people were murdered in South Africa between April 2021 to end of June 2021.
  • 10 006 cases of rape were registered during the same period.  
  • 487 of the rape cases were domestic violence related, while 164 murders were linked to domestic violence. 

Murder and rape are still on the rise in South Africa, a grim reality known all too well by the public.

On Friday, Minister of Police Bheki Cele released the quarterly crime statistics - from 1 April to the end of June 2021. 

Contact crimes such as murder, attempted murder, sexual offences and all categories of assault registered a 60.6% increase, compared to the same period in 2020. 

All sexual offences crimes increased by 74.1% when compared with the same period last year. 

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However, Cele stressed that comparing the two periods would leave the statistics distorted because of the hard lockdown in 2020, which severely restricted freedoms and movement, resulting in less crime. 

"Fellow South Africans, the first quarter of the 2020/21 financial year coincided with Level 5 lockdown that kept almost everyone indoors, and most businesses closed, including taverns, liquor outlets, night clubs, sporting activities and places of entertainment which are generally attributors to causative factors of crime," he said. 

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"The never seen before pleasant picture of last year was compared to a normal period of 2019, and hence the comparison was distorted and very skewed," Cele said, adding:

I repeat, we cannot compare the same period of this year and last year, due to the skewed and abnormal crime trends, caused by the different levels of lockdown, if we are to understand this crime picture that we are presenting to you today.

Despite this, contact crimes, even compared to the same period in 2019, before the lockdown came to exist, still document an increase. 

According to the statistics, if the latest figures are compared with the same period in 2019, there has been a 0.6% increase in contact crimes and a 5.0% increase in all sexual offences.

Murder 

Between April and June, 5 760 people were murdered in South Africa, Cele said. This represented a 66.2 % increase in murder compared with the same period in 2020, or 6.7% if compared with the first quarter in 2019. 

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"This is 2 294 more people killed compared to the corresponding period in the previous financial year," Cele said. 

"Compared to a period without lockdown, it would result in an increase of 362 more deaths."

According to the statistics, causative factors leading to murders included arguments, revenge and robbery: 

  • 904 people were murdered because of arguments/misunderstandings
  • 349 people were murdered during robberies
  • 310 murders were mob justice related.
  • 268 people were murdered because of retaliation/revenge
  • 232 of the murders were gang-related
  • 164 of the murders were related to domestic violence
  • 108 of the murders recorded were taxi-related

Cele said that, of the 4 467 murder cases sampled, it was determined that a total of 2 531 people had been murdered in public places - including streets, open fields, parking lots and abandoned buildings.

A total of 1 385 murders occurred at the victim's home or the perpetrator's home, while 206 occurred at liquor outlets. 

"Out of the top 30 murder stations, the Khayelitsha, Phillipi East and Bityi police stations in the Western Cape, and Eastern Cape recorded decreases in their murder figures," Cele said.

Rape 

Police registered 10 006 cases of rape between April and June 2021.

This was an increase of 4 201 cases, 72.4% more than the same period in 2020.

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However, if compared to the same period in 2019, before the lockdown, the increase dropped to 2.8%. 

Cele said that a sample of 5 439 rape cases revealed that 3 766 took place at the home of the victim or the home of the perpetrator, while 487 cases were domestic violence related.

"The Inanda police station in KwaZulu-Natal, Delft in the Western Cape, and the Eastern Cape's Lusikisiki police stations recorded the highest incidents of rape," Cele said.

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