South Africa’s First Quarter Crime Stats Summarized

South African Police Service recently released the country’s latest crime statistics. These statistics covered the crime rates from January to March 2022. We will summarise these crime statistics so we can assist you in gaining a better picture of where the country is regarding criminal activity.

The total crimes that the SAPS reported during the first quarter, which included murders, sexual violence or assaults, indicated a significant increase, which was a result of reported crimes and an increase in crimes detected due to police activity.

The first three months of 2022 were brutal, unsafe and violent for South Africans. This can be attributed to the current socio-economic issues such as inequality, unemployment and poverty, as these issues could have encouraged opportunistic criminal behaviour.

Contact crimes, including sexual offences, murder, attempted murder, robbery and common assault, increased from 137 314 cases in the same period in 2021 to 157 907 cases this year, an increase of 15.0%. All the recorded cases of attempted murder, murder and assault grievous bodily harm (GBH) of women showed double-digit increases. There was also a sharp increase in murder and assault of GBH on children under 17. However, there was a 6.8% decrease in the number of attempted murder cases of children.

In the first quarter, there was a 22.2% increase in the murder cases reported, as 1 107 more people were killed in the country compared to the same period last year. 306 of the total 6 083 people killed were children under the age of 17 years, and 898 were women. The number of children murdered indicated a 37.2% increase, which is alarming.

Of the total 6 083 people killed, 2 268 were murdered in public places such as streets, open fields, abandoned buildings and parking areas. The four causative factors for these murders were revenge, arguments, retaliation, vigilantism and robberies. The second most likely place where a murder was likely to occur was either the perpetrator’s or the victim’s home. The third and fourth places where you were more likely to be killed in South Africa were liquor outlets and public transportation such as taxis, busses or trains.

There was a 13.7% increase in all sexual offences; however, there was a decrease in the contact sexual offences category. 10 818 people were raped in the first quarter of the year. Nearly half of these cases occurred at the home of either the rapist or victim of the rape. The second most likely places for rapes to occur were streets, beaches, public parks, open fields and abandoned buildings. In 1 290 rape cases that were reported, liquor was involved. The police stations that reported the highest number of rape cases were the Lusikisiki Police Station in the Eastern Cape and the Delft Police Station in the Western Cape.

Assault GBH significantly increased as 6 575 more cases were reported during this period. A total of 45 746 common assault cases and 42 992 cases of assault GBH were reported. The leading causes of the assault GBH were arguments, robberies, intervention in a fight and road rage.

Kidnapping also saw a significant increase of 1 700 cases as 3 306 cases were reported. The majority of reported kidnapping cases were rape, hijacking and robbery related. The police stations that recorded the highest number of kidnapping cases were Heidelberg and Kempton Park stations in Gauteng province and Delmas police station in Mpumalanga.

Contact-related crimes such as malicious injury to property and arson increased to 15.5% as 3 977 more cases were reported compared to last year. There was a 0.1% increase in property-related crimes as 91 278 cases were recorded this year. Other serious offences, including shoplifting, commercial crime, and other forms of theft like aggravated robbery, robbery at residences, bank robberies, and cash-in-transit heists, increased by 8.4%.

Truck hijacking showed the highest increase in a crime category as there was an increase of 31.4%; however, 465 cases of truck hijacking were reported this year compared to the 354 cases reported the previous year. Carjacking also saw a significant increase as there were 889 more cases than last year.

Robbery of cash in transit increased by 26.2% this quarter as 53 cases were reported, and a total of 10 787 cases of common robbery were reported, an increase of 1 238 cases. Stock theft also increased as 6 243 cases were reported, a 2.5% increase in this crime category.

Burglary at non-residential premises and robbery at residential and non-residential premises were some of the crime categories that indicated a significant decline. Burglary at residential premises saw a 1.0% increase as 40 960 cases were reported this year compared to the 40 568 cases reported in the first quarter last year. Robbery at residential premises had a 0.4% decrease, while robbery at non-residential premises indicated a 3.5% decline. A total of 14 241 cases of burglary at non-residential premises were reported, which is a 6.4% decrease from the previous year.

Lastly, crimes detected due to police action cover crimes discovered through raids or roadblocks. This category includes DUI or driving under the influence, whether the influence of alcohol or drugs or the possession, use or trade of illegal drugs. In 2021 in the same period, 50 034 cases were reported, whereas this year, 60 151 cases were reported, an increase of 9.3%.

358 more cases of illegal possession of ammunition and firearms were recorded this year compared to the year before, an increase of 11.2%. In driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, 3 409 more cases were recorded, while drug-related crime increased by 17.7%. The crime category of sexual offences discovered due to police action declined from 2 335 to 2 308, which is a 1.2% decrease.





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